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Paris braces for fresh pro-Gaza protest after violence

Published on Jul 23, 2014 9:52 AM
Protestors hold a Palestinian flag as they take part in a demonstration on July 22, 2014 to denounce Israel's military campaign in Gaza and to show their support to the Palestinian people in Aulnay-sous-Bois, north suburb of Paris. -- PHOTO: AFP 

PARIS (AFP) - The French capital braced on Wednesday for a fresh protest against the Israeli offensive in Gaza after similar rallies ended in violence and looting, raising concerns in the Jewish community about anti-Semitism.

The government, whose ban on several weekend rallies failed spectacularly after they went ahead anyway and descended into chaos, decided to authorise Wednesday's protest in Paris after discussions with organisers who gave "security guarantees", Prime Minister Manuel Valls said.

The protests at the weekend in Paris and in the suburb town of Sarcelles were marred by clashes between demonstrators and the police that sent locals scurrying as tear gas permeated the air, and scores were arrested.

Protesters in a previous Paris demonstration had attempted to storm synagogues and in Sarcelles, several Jewish businesses were looted, prompting Roger Cukierman, the head of the country's main CRIF Jewish grouping, to voice fears of "pogroms." On Tuesday, four men were sentenced to between three and six months in prison for their role in the Sarcelles violence, and three others were given between three and five months suspended jail sentences for their involvement in the Paris unrest.

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