Pro-Palestinian demonstrations banned: “a period of decency” was needed, Macron tells young people

Jacques Serais with AFP // Photo credit: LUDOVIC MARIN / AFP
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7:14 p.m., October 19, 2023

The head of state justified the ban on pro-Palestinian demonstrations in France, ordered by Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin. According to Emmanuel Macron, it was necessary to observe a “decency period” due to the “terrorist attack” launched by Hamas against Israel on October 7.

Emmanuel Macron justified Thursday the ban on pro-Palestinian demonstrations in France by the need for a “period of decency” after the massacres of Israelis by Hamas and the risk of infiltration by “ultraradical elements”. “I think there was a period of decency, there had been a terrorist attack, it was not good,” he explained during an exchange with students in the street in Paris, including one AFP journalist was a witness.

“I think we rather want to regroup”

“I see people who want to demonstrate peacefully, but there are hyper-radical elements who are going to burn the flags of Israel and defend Hamas,” he added. The Council of State challenged the government on Wednesday, arguing that pro-Palestinian demonstrations could not be systematically banned and that it was up to the prefects alone to assess whether there was a local risk of disturbances to public order.

On October 12, five days after the bloody attack perpetrated in Israel by Hamas, Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin instructed prefects to ban “pro-Palestinian demonstrations, because they are likely to generate unrest to public order”. “In all the capitals where there are demonstrations, there are very harsh elements who arrive and who do the worst things,” added the head of state during his exchange with BTS students from Gagny (Seine -St Denis).

“Do we want to see that now? I think we rather want to regroup,” continued Emmanuel Macron. “It is much more useful to do what we do, to have a voice that defends peace, the cessation of hostilities, the fight against terrorism, but in a targeted manner and respect for civilian populations” , he noted. “It’s much more effective than tearing yourself apart.”

The French president had until now invoked Israel’s “right to defend itself”. He also called on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to respond with “targeted actions” against Hamas in Gaza and to “spare” civilians. However, he had not publicly mentioned a “cessation of hostilities”.

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