Politicians join thousands of protesters for Paris anti-Semitism march

President Emmanuel Macron's decision not to attend drew criticism from some politicians

Thousands march against anti-Semitism in Paris

Thousands march against anti-Semitism in Paris
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French politicians joined thousands of marchers in Paris on Sunday to condemn a surge in anti-Semitic acts in the country during the conflict in the Gaza Strip.

The leaders of France's two houses of parliament called the protest after a three-fold increase in the number of anti-Semitic incidents, compared with the whole of 2022, since Hamas's October 7 attack on Israel.

Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne and former presidents Francois Hollande and Nicolas Sarkozy led the march, holding a banner with the slogan "For the Republic, against anti-Semitism".

They led several renditions of the French national anthem.

Police estimated 105,000 people took part in Sunday's march.

President Emmanuel Macron, whose decision not to attend drew criticism from some politicians, published an open letter supporting the march and condemning "the unbearable resurgence of unbridled anti-Semitism".

The run-up to the march was marked by wrangling over which parties should be represented.

The far-right National Rally's decision to take part prompted the radical-left France Unbowed party to distance itself from the event, although other left-wing parties attended.

Left-wing politicians have joined pro-Palestinian protests in recent weeks, including a march in Paris on Saturday.

Calls by Mr Macron in recent days for a ceasefire in Gaza, including in an interview in which he opposed Israeli bombing, have been welcomed by French leftist politicians but rebuked by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Protests against anti-Semitism also took place in other French cities on Sunday, including in Marseille where about 7,000 people turned out, according to a police estimate.

Elsewhere in Europe, concern is running high over anti-Semitism and other forms of extremism.

In Britain, a large pro-Palestinian demonstration on Saturday was marked by skirmishes between far-right counter-protesters and the police.

Updated: November 13, 2023, 5:32 AM