France Top Court Sides With Govt on Pro-Palestine Protests Ban
The top court in France ruled in favor of the French interior ministry in banning pro-Palestine protests in the country, but said it should be looked at case by case basis for potential risks to public order.
The Palestine Action Committee argued that the interior ministry’s order infringed on their right to peaceful protest. The court highlighted that the ministry had only banned gatherings or protests that celebrated the terror attacks by Hamas.
It said state authorities have the power to decide and impose ban in regards to the Israeli-Palestine war, whichever side it wants to support. The court added that given the tensions and rise in anti-Semitism in France, protests that support Hamas are of a nature to provoke disturbances to public order.
Court Says No Systematic Ban in France
Vincent Brengarth, a lawyer for Comite Action Palestine, applauded the court’s ruling as a victory. He said the court has swept away the systematic ban. “We will need to challenge bans on a case-by-case basis when they come.” However, he said the ban prevents people protesting about a certain cause. Brengarth argued the government failed to specify what exactly that cause was.
Pascale Leglise, the lawyer representing the French Interior Ministry, said the order was just a guidance for local authorities who should continue to provide detailed justifications for any decision to ban protests on their territory.
She believes such gatherings or rallies would be taken advantage by extremists. It should be noted that hundreds of complaints of anti-Semitic abuse has been filed in France in the last ten days since the Hamas attacks.
France Arrests Hundreds of Protesters
In recent days, the French police have had to disperse crowds with tear gas and water cannons. Hundreds of individuals had gathered in Central Paris last Thursday to protest the blanket ban on pro-Palestinian rallies in France.
Gerald Darmanin, the French Interior Minister, said pro-Palestinian demonstrations must be prohibited because they are likely to generate disturbances to the public order. He warned that such protests will lead to arrests. The minister called on the police to protect locations visited by French Jews, like synagogues and schools. “Any foreigner committing acts of anti-Semitism on French soil will be immediately expelled.”
France has recorded protests in Toulouse, Paris, Bordeaux, Lille and other cities.