Paris was the scene of massive nonviolent protests on Saturday against the Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip and against the visit of Israel’s President, Shimon Peres, to the country as part of his European tour.The procession was organized by the Palestinian Students Union in a Parisian neighborhood which has been home to a large number of Arabs and Palestinians, especially university students.  

The protesters marched in the streets carrying Palestinian flags, and pictures of the late president Yasser Arafat; they also carried posters condemning the Israeli attacks against Palestinian civilians, and rejecting Peres’s visit.  Approximately 5000 protesters participated in the activity condemning the international idleness while the Israeli occupation and attacks against civilians in Gaza and the West Bank continue.  The protesters also condemned the “shameful positions of Arab leaders regarding the Palestinian cause and struggle.”  Marking International Womens' Day, the protesters praised Palestinian women and their role in the struggle for liberation.

At one point the protesters were harassed by youth who voiced insulting words against Islam, Palestinians and Arabs, one of the protesters stated.  He also stated that at a similar protest last week, some youth hurled stones at the protesters and the police fired tear gas.  Some protesters were detained, but none of the youth attacking the protesters were arrested.  Two students from Morocco are facing charges for participating in the protest which lasted for four hours.

This most recent demonstration is part of a campaign by Palestinians in France demanding the French government pressure Israel to stop its abuses of the Palestinian people and to assist the Palestinians in achieving independence.

This article was written by Samer Awwad – Nablus