Massive turnout for pro-Palestinian protests in Paris, various US cities

Israel has pounded Gaza with hundreds of air strikes and shells, killing at least 145 people, including 41 children and 23 women

A protester in Paris being sprayed by a water canon during a demonstration in solidarity with Palestinians amid the escalating flare-up of Israeli-Palestinian violence.
A protester in Paris being sprayed by a water canon during a demonstration in solidarity with Palestinians amid the escalating flare-up of Israeli-Palestinian violence.
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IANS

Defying a ban, tens of thousands of people gathered in Paris for a pro-Palestinian demonstration, during which police used tear gas and water cannon to try to disperse the demonstrators.

Around 4,200 police officers were deployed in the French capital ahead of the protest on Saturday afternoon, dpa news agency quoted Franceinfo as saying in a report.

Israel has pounded Gaza with hundreds of air strikes and shells, killing at least 145 people, including 41 children and 23 women.

By 7 p.m., 44 people had been arrested, and one policeman was injured, according to authorities. People demonstrated in the capital to mark Nakba Day, especially in Paris' 18th district, where the police had previously ordered shopkeepers to close their businesses.

According to the Ministry of the Interior, between 2,500 and 3,500 people took to the streets in Paris, French media reported. According to official figures, around 22,000 people demonstrated throughout France.

There were also demonstrations in other cities including Bordeaux, Lille, Lyon and Strasbourg.


Nakba Day, referring to the Palestinian "catastrophe", marks the mass displacement of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians after the founding of the state of Israel in 1948.

The Paris police prefecture had previously banned the demonstration on the orders of Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin. A court confirmed the decision. It justified the ban on the grounds that public order had been massively disrupted in 2014.

The organisers stuck to their call for a demonstration despite the ban.

In the US, demonstrators took to streets across a number of major US cities, demanding an end to the escalating violence between Israel and Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip.

In capital Washington, D.C., hundreds took part in pro-Palestinian protests on Saturday, marching from the Washington Monument to the US Capitol, reported Xinhua news agency.

Also on Saturday, thousands of people rallied in Los Angeles in support of Palestinians. Local media said a handful of pro-Israel counter-protesters also gathered, and police officers kept the groups separated.

A demonstration that started in a neighbourhood in the Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, which has a large Arabic-speaking community, continued through the streets for several hours on Saturday afternoon, said an ABC News report.

In San Francisco, a crowd banged drums and yelled "Palestine will be free" as they marched across the Mission district to Dolores Park, the report said, adding that pro-Palestinian demonstrations were also held in Boston, Philadelphia, Atlanta and some other US cities.

The protests were planned for Nakba Day, which Palestinians observe every May 15 to commemorate the 1948 displacement of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians amid Israel's war of independence, local media reported.

Israel has pounded Gaza with hundreds of air strikes and shells, killing at least 145 people, including 41 children and 23 women.

Meanwhile, rockets fired by militant groups in Gaza have killed 10 people, including a five-year-old boy, a soldier and two women.

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