Clashes erupted in Paris on Sunday as thousands of people protested against Israel and in support of residents in the Gaza Strip, where a six-day conflict has left 168 Palestinians dead.
Several thousand demonstrators walked calmly through the streets of Paris behind a large banner that read “Total Support for the Struggle of the Palestinian People”.
But clashes erupted at the end of the march on Bastille Square, with people throwing projectiles onto a cordon of police who responded with tear gas.
The unrest continued early Sunday evening as police announced six arrests had been made.
A small group tired to break into two synagogues in central Paris, a police source told AFP.
Riot police dispersed the group, with two members of the Jewish community and six officers slightly injured in the ensuing scuffle, the source said.
Prime Minister Manuel Valls condemned the attempted synagogue stormings “in the strongest possible terms”.
“Such acts targeting places of worship are unacceptable,” he said in a statement.
“I am profoundly shocked and revolted. This aggression towards the Jewish community has taken an absolutely unacceptable turn,” Joel Mergei, president of the Israelite Central Consistory of France, told AFP.
Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo called for “calm in the face of tensions” in the Middle East.
In the northern city of Lille, meanwhile, between 2,300 and 6,000 people protested peacefully, according to differing figures provided by the police and organizers.
The descent into violence in the Gaza Strip began on June 12th when three Israeli teenagers were kidnapped and later murdered, triggering a major military crackdown on Hamas in the West Bank and an escalation of rocket fire from Gaza.
The brutal revenge killing of a Palestinian teenager by Jewish extremists on July 2nd added further fuel to the fire, turning into an all-out conflict on July 8th when Israel launched an air campaign against Gaza militants.
The Palestinian death toll from Israel’s punishing air campaign has hit 168… see more