A large pro-Palestinian protest in the shopping district in Paris turned violent. A pro-Palestinian umbrella group, including France’s Communist Party, led more than 21,000 demonstrators, according to reports, in a march Saturday afternoon protesting Israel’s military actions over the past week in the Gaza Strip. Police blocked the demonstrators from reaching the Israeli Embassy. Protesters set cars on fire, and several luxury store windows were smashed and looted.
French riot police clashed with roughly 400 to 500 youth, according to police. The youth, wearing Palestinian flags and kaffiyehs, threw chairs and other objects at police barricades. Police responded with tear gas bombs. Anti-Israel, anti-French and anti-American slogans could be heard throughout the rally. France and its president, Nicolas Sarkozy, were dubbed Israel’s “accomplices.”
Pro-Palestinian and Pro-Israeli protests have taken place around the country.