As the conflict flares up more and more in the Middle East, the government has banned a demonstration in support of the Palestinian people scheduled for Saturday in Paris.
A decision immediately denounced by the organizers as a provocation and an attack on democracy.
Supported by the Association of Palestinians in Île-de-France, the mobilization was to denounce the position of France, considered too favorable to Israel.
The organizers hope to obtain this Friday the cancellation of its ban.
Why this ban?
The Paris police prefect, Didier Lallement, on Thursday issued an order prohibiting walking, scheduled for Saturday at 3 pm from Barbès to the Place de la Bastille, "in accordance" with the request addressed to him during the day on Minister of the Interior, Gérald Darmanin.
To justify his decree, the prefect indicates that "there is a serious risk that clashes between Palestinians and Israeli security forces will be transported to the national territory", causing "serious disturbances to public order".
The mobilization should bring together "heterogeneous support", including possibly "many elements at risk seeking to provoke clashes with the police," said the prefecture.
In accordance with the request of the Minister of the Interior, the Prefect of Police issued an order prohibiting the demonstration declared for Saturday, May 15, 2021. https://t.co/SmyQdP2sYH pic.twitter.com/hutL7MhSaW
- Police Prefecture (@prefpolice) May 13, 2021
The decree still points to the “very great risk” of “abuses against synagogues and Israeli interests” such as those observed “this week” in “neighboring countries like Germany”.
Several flags of the Hebrew state have been burned in recent days in front of two synagogues in Bonn and Münster, according to The Times of Israel.
Another argument: the Minister of the Interior repeats not wanting to “relive the vile scenes of 2014 in the streets of Paris” during pro-Palestinian demonstrations.
Contesting a ban they deem "unfair and abusive", lawyers for the Association of Palestinians in Île-de-France filed on Friday an appeal for interim relief with the administrative court.
A "common" procedure when a judgment must be rendered urgently, "says Fleur Jourdan, a lawyer specializing in administrative law.
“The right to demonstrate is considered a fundamental right, so prohibiting it can be considered as an infringement of this freedom,” she adds.
In this type of appeal, an interim judge must rule in less than 48 hours.
“In this specific case, the crux of the matter is whether this infringement appears disproportionate or not.
In other words: is there a real risk of disturbing public order as the government suggests?
», Notes the lawyer.
A second appeal may possibly be lodged with the Council of State to appeal against the decision of the interim judge.
However, such a procedure seems unlikely in the present case, given the very short timeframe.
If each decision is "on a case-by-case basis", the judge gives "generally more easily reason to the administration", underlines Fleur Jourdan.
"And this for a simple reason: it is very difficult to demonstrate in advance that there will be no disturbance to public order".
The Paris administrative court should rule this Friday or Saturday morning at the latest.
The ban on the demonstration received support on the right from the LR deputy of the Alpes-Maritimes, Éric Ciotti, and the mayor of Nice, Christian Estrosi, who asked the prefect of the Alpes-Maritimes to do the same in his department. "It is better that there are no demonstrations", in particular to avoid "anti-Semitic provocations", added the spokesperson for the National Rally, Sébastien Chenu. A point of view shared by the former Prime Minister Manuel Valls who considers that "a part of the left or the extreme left is using this conflict as a pretext to justify anti-Semitism".
Opinions are more divided on the left: the PS mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, spoke of a "wise decision" while rebellious France condemns a desire to "stigmatize a cause".
“France, the only country in the world where all demonstrations of support for the Palestinians and protest against the far-right Israeli government are prohibited!
", Denounced the leader of rebellious France, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, adding:" It is obviously for the sole purpose of provoking incidents and being able to stigmatize this cause ".
What happened in 2014?
The memory of the demonstrations organized in July 2014 in Paris also arouses the concern of the government. That summer, between 15,000 and 20,000 people marched several weekends in a row in the streets of the capital, denouncing the Israeli offensive in the Gaza Strip. Gatherings which ended, for one of them, with scenes of riots and dozens of arrests.
The fear of reliving the same excesses is therefore not surprising, according to Frédéric Encel, geopolitician, specialist in the Middle East. “The defense of a Palestinian state is obviously legitimate. But experience shows us that frequent excesses have occurred during these demonstrations since the 1980s. The Palestinian cause often finds itself instrumentalized for anti-Semitic and anti-republican ends ”, assures the researcher, estimating that the importation of the "Conflict in France must be fought".
A position that struggles to gain consensus among researchers. “There have obviously been peaceful mobilizations for the Palestinian cause in recent years! ", Defends Stéphanie Latte Abdallah, historian and political scientist specializing in the Middle East at the CNRS, deeming this ban on demonstrations" deeply anti-democratic ". And to conclude: "If the government has to go back to events that occurred seven years ago to justify this ban, this proves that overflows are not usual. "