Defiant protesters for Palestine in Paris on Thursday

Thousands of pro-Palestine supporters poured on the streets of Paris and other French cities this week despite a state ban on demonstrations.

A big crowd gathered at Place de la Republique in Paris on Thursday afternoon to express their solidarity with Palestine—and stayed there until nightfall. It was a defiant response to interior minister Gerald Darmanin’s ban on all pro-Palestinian gatherings.

Demonstrators also came on to the streets in Bordeaux, Rennes, Lille and Toulouse—and in Lyon on Wednesday.

Everywhere the police responded with tear gas and arrests. Sania from Lyon told Socialist Worker, “We refuse to obey. If people in Palestine can stand against air raids and starvation and bullets then we must defy the cops in France to show solidarity.

“The state is in solidarity with apartheid Israel. We have to show we will not go along with this.”

The state is also threatening the NPA socialist organisation. The national centre for the fight against online hatred of the Paris public prosecutor’s office contacted the criminal brigade of the Parisian judicial police because of a press release released last weekend.

The NPA rightly offered “its support for the Palestinians and the means of struggle that they have chosen to resist”.

Jean-Luc Melenchon’s LFI organisation has also come under strong state attack. It had said, “The armed offensive by Palestinian forces led by Hamas comes against a backdrop of intensification of Israel’s policy of occupation in Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem,”

Melenchon said, “All the violence unleashed against Israel and Gaza proves only one thing—violence only produces and reproduces itself.”

This was enough for ministers and large parts of the mainstream left to attack him.

Nearly 200,000 demonstrators and tens of thousands of strikers took part in a day of action across France against austerity on Friday.

Hypocrisy over Brits going to join Israeli forces

In an exodus of “foreign fighters”, at least 100 people have left Britain to join the Israeli slaughter of Palestinians.

The Israeli Embassy in London said most of those involved are “reservists and active duty soldiers” in the Israeli army.

But there are others. A lawyer helping those who want to reach Israel said he had, for example, an email from Chris, a former British soldier. He said he felt compelled to travel to Israel to fight, having fallen in love with Israel and been baptised in the River Jordan.

“I am really wanting to come out to help with the war,” Chris wrote. “I feel like it’s my duty as an ex-British military man who served my country back in 2007.”

Anyone in Britain seeking to join Muslims fighting back in Syria or Chechnya has faced prison and loss of citizenship. Those fighting for Israel will be feted as heroes by the Tories. 

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