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13 Nov, 2023 14:10

Paris anti-Semitism march draws over 100,000 (VIDEOS)

The crowd was led by senior politicians holding a “For the Republic, against anti-Semitism” banner

Massive demonstrations against anti-Semitism took place across France on Sunday amid a sharp rise in anti-Jewish acts since the escalation of the conflict between Israel and Hamas. In Paris, the march was led by senior politicians including Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne and former presidents Francois Hollande and Nicolas Sarkozy.

The “Great Citizens' March” against anti-Semitism was launched by the president of the National Assembly, Yael Braun-Pivet, and the president of the French Senate, Gerard Larcher.

It comes at a time when the number of anti-Jewish incidents in France has soared. According to the French Interior Ministry, over 1100 anti-Semitic incidents have been recorded since the Hamas militant group in Palestine attacked Israel on 7 October, retaliation against Gaza. The latest French incidents represent a significant increase compared to the 436 such cases in the whole of 2022.

According to Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin, these acts include verbal and physical aggression, and the inscription of Nazi symbols or Stars of David in places where French people of Jewish faith are believed to live.

Around 200,000 people took part in demonstrations across the country, with the largest turnout in Paris, where some 105,000 people were present, according to local media citing the police. In the capital, participants marched through the streets following politicians who carried a banner reading “For the Republic, against anti-Semitism” and sang the French national anthem.

Former head of state Nicolas Sarkozy said that “participation in the march is everyone's duty” given the seriousness of the situation. He noted that the demonstration was not political, but “an affirmation of an essential value: we do not want any more anti-Semitism in France.”

While President Emmanuel Macron did not attend, he addressed the nation with a letter calling for “justice, peace and security” for the people of Israel, the Palestinians and the states of the region, and for the unity of the French nation. 

According to the World Jewish Congress (WJC), France is home to nearly 500,000 Jews and has the third largest Jewish community in the world, behind Israel and the US.