Several rallies held around the world, both in support of Israel and Gaza, ended in violence over the weekend. Most notable was a pro-Palestinian march in Paris during which Jews were trapped inside synagogues as demonstrators threw stones.
Thousands gathered in Paris Sunday under the banner “Total Support for the Struggle of the Palestinian People”. Clashes erupted when marchers encountered a police cordon and began throwing projectiles. They then trapped a group of Jews inside their synagogue, where they remained until rescued around 9 p.m. by police. One worshipper inside told Israel’s Channel 2 news the experience was “like..an intifada” as rocks and bricks were thrown into the building.
By the time the crowd was dispersed by police, two Jewish community members and six officers were injured, albeit lightly. Another synagogue was also attacked. Six protesters were arrested.
Pro-Palestinian rally in Paris turns ugly
French Prime Minister Manuel Valls condemned the incident “in the strongest possible terms”. In a statement, he said, “Such acts targeting places of worship are unacceptable.”
In Berlin Saturday, some 1,000 Palestinians and their supporters held an unregistered march to protest Operation Protective Edge. The gathering, which was held without a permit, was eventually broken up when several demonstrators were arrested for breach of the peace and for attempting to free those already arrested.
Protesters tried to enter Berlin’s “Fan Mile”, an area where soccer fans had been gathering to watch World Cup games, but were rebuffed. The crowd moved on, and police described them as rowdy and aggressive.
Pro-Palestine protesters invade central Berlin
At one point, a demonstrator offered to calm the crowd, and was given access to a police megaphone. Instead, he used the opportunity to chant violent and anti-Semitic slogans, such as “child murderer Israel.”
Israel supporters, too, gathered to show their encouragement for the beleaguered country. At an LA rally Sunday, organized by StandWithUs and the Israeli American Council, some 3,000 attendees waved American and Israeli flags, carried banners and cheered. Three corners of the intersection outside the Los Angeles Federal Building were flanked with blue-and-white, and passing cars honked their approval.
The largely peaceful demonstration, however, did not end well, according to reports from the Los Angeles Jewish Journal. According to the paper, four Palestinians carrying sticks arrived in a pickup truck and attacked members of the crowd. The violence prompted one federal officer to fire his weapon. An investigation into the incident was opened. Thankfully, no one was injured, but four people were arrested.
Earlier, a group of 25 Palestinians arrived at the pro-Israel event, a counter-demonstration which eventually grew to 200. Their presence did not spark any violence, as police kept the two groups apart.