In a surprise move which is sure to be widely condemned as brazen and massive overreach stomping on free speech, the French government of Emmanuel Macron has just announced it is banning pro-Palestinian protests. Paris says it’s necessary to maintain national security and prevent anti-semitic attacks.
Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin announced Thursday in a letter to law enforcement across the country that they are “likely to generate disturbances to public order.”
Presumably demonstrators might not be able to not so much as fly a Palestinian flag. But this crackdown itself sets the stage for rioting (given that’s what the French are already good at).
More importantly, the Arab/North African population of France is already at a staggering 5-6 million people, or at around 10% of the total population, according to some estimates. Major cities of the last couple years have already been beset by migrant-fueled riots and unrest. Huge numbers of the French Arab community were also born in France.
It seems this is a preemptive effort of government authorities to halt any kind of Islamic ‘day of rage’ which Hamas leadership had publicly called for earlier in the week.
What’s more is that this dramatic move is being framed as part of thwarting antisemitic attacks:
In a statement, Gérald Darmanin ordered foreign nationals who break the rules to be “systematically deported”.
The move comes as European governments fear a rise in antisemitism triggered by the Israel-Hamas war.
On Thursday, German police broke up a pro-Palestinian demonstration in Berlin.
France has a Jewish community of almost 500,000, the biggest in Europe. France’s Muslim community is also among Europe’s largest – an estimated five million.
Mr Darmanin told regional prefects that Jewish schools and synagogues should be protected by a visible police presence.
🇫🇷🇵🇸 BREAKING: France has just banned pro-Palestinian protests.— Libs Fails 🇺🇸 (@LibsFails) October 12, 2023
Do you support this?#Israel #IsraelPalestineWar #HamasMassacre #GazaUnderAttack #HamasTerrorism #Gaza_under_attack #HamasTerrorists #Palestine #Gazapic.twitter.com/zz4SCLmi6S
President Macron has confirmed that at least 12 French citizens died in the Saturday Hamas attack, while 17 more are missing, among them four children.
Given this new ban on pro-Palestinian protests, and given tensions are already rising across Europe as more and more competing pro- and anti-Israel demonstrations pop up, Friday is going to be interesting to say the least. French police are bracing themselves for likely major unrest.