Demonstrations in Paris Over Israeli Prime Minister's Visit

 Demonstrators walk along the Champs-Elysees protesting the arrival of Prime Minister Netanyahu in France, on Tuesday, June 5th, in Paris. Photos by Wesley Parnell.

Demonstrators walk along the Champs-Elysees protesting the arrival of Prime Minister Netanyahu in France, on Tuesday, June 5th, in Paris. Photos by Wesley Parnell.

 

Demonstrators gathered along Paris’s Avenue Champs-Elysees on Tuesday to condemn the arrival of Prime Minister Netanyahu and the “France-Israel Cultural Season.”

Netanyahu arrived in Paris on Tuesday to solidify Israel’s relationship with France, meeting with President Macron and kicking off the start of the French-Israel Cultural Season (a cultural, scientific, and political exchange between France and Israel lasting from June until November 2018).

Protests began in the beginning of the day and lasted well into the night.

Police blocked off portions of the city in light of Netanyahu’s arrival, which protesters claimed was an effort to divide and prevent demonstrators from gathering together.

Protestors chanted against both Netanyahu and Macron, exclaiming that both parties were complicit in the continuing surge of violence along the Gaza strip. Police officers stood in full riot gear, helmets and shields ready while demonstrations remained peaceful.

“Many governments are complicit,” Nada Lazghal, a Palestinian citizen of Paris said, “but now Macron is inviting Prime Minister Netanyahu to Paris after Palestinian citizens are slaughtered in Gaza.”

Netanyahu arrival in France is part of a series of visits throughout Europe, including meetings with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and British Prime Minister Theresa May. Netanyahu left the meeting saying that Israel is working to prevent future terrorist attacks in France.

During the final hours of the protest, police officers prevented protesters from leaving freely, guiding them into the John F. Kennedy Metro Station, temporarily blocking anyone from exiting the station.

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Demonstrators and onlookers had just as much if not more to say about President Macron than they did Prime Minister Netanyahu.

“I do not agree with Macron and I do not agree with what is going on in Palestine,” said Yans Leillard, a Paris resident. “I voted for him because of Marie Lapel, there was no choice. I am from Normandy, where D-Day took place. I could not vote for a fascist.”

 

Check out more photos of this event from staff reporter Wesley Parnell.