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Protesters in Paris take stand against racism, Islamophobia, violence


People gather in Paris to take a stand against racism, Islamophobia and violence against children, April 21, 2024. Some participants wore shirts that said "Free Palestine."
People gather in Paris to take a stand against racism, Islamophobia and violence against children, April 21, 2024. Some participants wore shirts that said "Free Palestine."

A crowd of around 2,000 people protested in Paris against racism, Islamophobia and violence against children Sunday after a court allowed their demonstration to go ahead.

Bans on protests have been more frequent in France in recent months amid tensions stirred by Israel's war on Hamas in Gaza. In a country that is home to large Muslim and Jewish communities, authorities have banned many pro-Palestinian demonstrations and public gatherings, citing the risk of antisemitic hate crimes and violence.

On Sunday, the protesters marched peacefully from the multi-ethnic Barbes neighborhood toward Place de la Republique. Many chanted slogans remembering Nahel, a 17-year-old of North African descent who was fatally shot during a police traffic stop last year.

Paris police chief Laurent Nunez told broadcaster BFM TV he initially chose to ban the march because in announcing the protest the organizers had likened French police violence to the war in Gaza, and he felt the event could cause a threat to public order.

That argument was rejected by Paris's administrative court in a fast-track decision.

"Fighting and mobilizing for the protection of all children is normal, it should be," said Yessa Belkgodja, one of the organizers of the march, welcoming the court's decision.

"If we are banned from protesting, it means we don't have the right to express ourselves in France," said Yamina Ayad, a retiree who was wrapped in Palestinian flag. " ...We are being monitored on social media. That's enough, leave us alone."

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    Reuters

    Reuters is a news agency founded in 1851 and owned by the Thomson Reuters Corporation based in Toronto, Canada. One of the world's largest wire services, it provides financial news as well as international coverage in over 16 languages to more than 1000 newspapers and 750 broadcasters around the globe.

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