Thousands gather in Paris for first authorised pro-Palestinian demo since Oct. 7 Hamas attacks

Pro-Palestinian rally in Paris; 15,000 attendees call for Gaza ceasefire amid rising death toll in Gaza

Reuters October 22, 2023
French labour unions and organisations during a demonstration at Place de la Republique in Paris, France, October 22, 2023. PHOTO: REUTERS


Thousands of people waving Palestinian flags and chanting "Gaza, Paris is with you" gathered on Sunday for the first pro-Palestinian demonstration allowed by police in the French capital since the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks on Israel.

Around 15,000 people turned out at the Place de la Republique, according to police figures, to express solidarity with Palestinians and to call for a ceasefire as the death toll from Israeli strikes in Gaza rose to more than 4,700.

Police said that the protest was authorised, unlike others, because the declaration by organisers condemned the Oct. 7 attacks on Israel, which killed 1,400 people.

On Thursday, a protest was authorised at the last minute only after a Paris court overturned the police decision to ban it, and in the last few days, other protests have been authorised in cities across France.

Read also: Thousands in Australia join pro-Palestinian march over Gaza

This came following a ruling by France's highest administrative court stating that pro-Palestinian protests were to be banned on a case-by-case basis, not systematically as an earlier instruction by the French interior minister had suggested.

The protest in Paris was called by the collective "National Collective for a sustainable and just peace between Palestinians and Israelis", made up of more than 40 organisations, including left-wing party France Unbowed, the CGT trade union and the organisation "France Palestine Solidarity".

At a peace summit in Cairo on Saturday, French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna said Israel had a right to self-defence under international law and that a humanitarian corridor to Gaza was necessary and could lead to a ceasefire.


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