PARIS – Shocking images emerged on Tuesday of vigilantes brandishing iron bars and cans of pepper spray while attacking pro-Palestinian demonstrators on the streets of Paris over the weekend.
The images, shot in the French capital on Sunday, show around 150 mainly young men chanting racist slogans as they went on the rampage.
It came as French President Francois Hollande warned that he did not want to see ‘the Israeli-Palestinian conflict imported into France.”
But a video shot close to the Place de la Bastille on Sunday, and verified by police before being posted on YouTube, suggests that the pro-Israel groups, thought to be linked to the extremist Jewish Defence League (LDJ), are in fact attacking the protesters.
It will cause concern in moderate Jewish communities around Europe, especially in Britain, where the Israeli bombardments of Palestinians in Gaza have come in for huge criticism.
While security guards regularly defend synagogues and other Jewish sites in cities like London, vigilante groups would be banned.
In Paris, CRS riot police do not make a single arrest among the gang despite their open fighting in broad daylight.
Members can be heard chanting ‘****-you Palestine’ as they smash up chairs and metal tables to be used as missiles.
Gas canisters, pepper spray, metal bars and wooden sticks are used by the vigilantes, some of whom are wearing crash helmets.
They run through the streets towards pro-Palestinian demonstrators, and skirmishes break out while the police stand by.
When the gang runs back towards police lines, there is no attempt to arrest any of them. In contrast, pro-Palestinian demonstrators were later accused of trying to break into synagogues, and six of them were arrested.
“French people of Muslim origin should be protected by the law when demonstrating. They should not be attacked by radical groups like the LDJ.”
Local Jewish community leader Joel Mergei accused anti-Israel protestors of reaching a ‘new low’.
An LDJ source insisted that the gang members pictured were ‘defending’ the Jewish community in Paris.
– See more at: Vigilantes attack pro-Palestinian demonstrators in Paris