A hate-filled protest took place on the streets of Paris on Sunday, with thousands of marchers chanting, “Jew, France is not for you,” the French JSS News reported.
JSS News said police counted 17,000 protesters (the protest groups claimed they numbered 120,000). 150 were arrested and 19 policemen suffered injuries, including one who was seriously wounded, according to AFP.
Security forces used tear gas to disperse several hundred youths who lobbed bottles, fireworks, iron bars and dustbins at police, AFP said.
The protest, dubbed the “Day of Anger,” initially focused on denigrating French President Francois Hollande, who has been unable to stem steep French unemployment and the perception that minorities, particularly Islamic immigrants, have taken all the jobs.
AFP noted that while the protesters appeared to represent France’s reactionary factions, representatives of its largest Far Right party were absent from the march. Besides Jews, the chanting also focused on homosexuals — “Gays out, dogs are welcome,” was one refrain reported by JSS News.
French Interior Minister Manuel Valls condemned the violence “by individuals, varied groups from the extreme and ultra-right, whose only goal is to create unrest,” AFP reported.
AFP quoted Sacha Reingewirtz, president of French Jewish students union UEJF, who condemned the “anti-Semitic slogans and Nazi salutes” of the protesters. “This ‘Day of Anger’ has turned into a day of hate,” Reingewirtz told AFP.
New York City-based French-Israeli artist Ron Agam, son of Israel’s Yaakov Agam, told The Algemeiner that the protests were both “terrible” and a cause to be “very worried.”
Agam said the protests were “very disturbing” and could “have a devastating multiplier effect” if their anger spreads. “History has taught us the consequences of these micro événements. Terrible, Terrible.”
“I am calling on the French Parliament to legislate very stringent laws against anti-Semitism and outbursts of this kind before it’s too late to stop it. What is today a few thousand flare-ups can quickly become ten thousand or more,” Agam said. “We have seen this before. The socio-economic climate in France is suitable ground for the beast of anti-Semitism to arise aggressively. I am very worried.”