Will a demonstration in support of the Palestinians take place on Saturday, May 15 in Paris, despite a ban by the prefecture supported by justice? The organizers of the rally maintained their call to demonstrate Friday evening, despite the ban confirmed by the courts a few hours earlier.
The ban on demonstrating was taken Thursday evening by the police headquarters, at the request of the Minister of the Interior, Gerald Darmanin. The prefect, Didier Lallement, had pointed “a serious risk” of “serious disturbances to public order”, and highlighted, like Gerald Darmanin, the urban violence that followed a pro-Palestinian demonstration in 2014.
On Friday, the Paris administrative court confirmed this ban, rejecting an appeal for interim relief filed by lawyers for the Association of Palestinians in Ile-de-France, the organizer of the demonstration. Justice ruled that the context “both international and domestic” did not allow “to estimate that the risks of serious disorders” born “would not be as important or even higher than those found in 2014”. The court also considered that the police, already “strongly mobilized” as part of Vigipirate, would be called on this weekend to ensure compliance with health measures.
“Because we refuse to silence our solidarity with the Palestinians, and we will not be prevented from demonstrating, we will be present (at the metro) Barbès tomorrow at 3 p.m.”, replied the Association of Palestinians in Ile-de-France, in a statement also signed by Attac, the Paris-Banlieue Antifascist Action, the New Anticapitalist Party or the Indigenous Party of the Republic. “France is the only democratic country to ban these demonstrations”, reacted to AFP the lawyers of the association, Sefen Guez, Dominique Cochain and Ouadie Elhamamouchi, announcing “appeal to the Council of State of this rejection” by the administrative tribunal of Paris.
The protest was originally planned to commemorate the Nakba, the exodus of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians upon the creation of Israel in 1948. The surge in violence in Israel and the Gaza Strip in recent days has drawn the prospect of ‘an important gathering. The organizers intended in particular to denounce the position of France, considered too favorable to Israel, and ask it to “Stronger condemnation of the bombings that kill civilians in Gaza”, according to Walid Atallah, one of the manager of the organizing association.
Gérald Darmanin asked the prefects to closely follow the rallies in support of the Palestinian people planned in other cities, and to ensure the protection of places frequented by the Jewish community. For Saturday, some demonstrations were banned, as in Nice. On the other hand, (static) gatherings or demonstrations are authorized, in Lyon, Bordeaux, Montpellier, or even Marseille, Nantes and Rennes.