Paris police clamp down on Palestine rally

A Palestine solidarity rally that Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo had urged police to ban went ahead on Saturday, but under tight restrictions.
A journalist was attacked during the rally by pro-Israel counter demonstrators as police watched and did nothing.
Police placed a “ring of steel” around the normally bustling Place du Châtelet in central Paris, and only let a few hundred Palestine activists in, an individual who observed the events told The Electronic Intifada.
Every approach road was blocked off, and people had to show identity papers.
“I saw many activists who today did not want to deal with the legions of armed riot police just go home,” the observer of the Saturday rally said. “Officers were very aggressive and generally only let elderly – ‘harmless’ – people through.”
“It was absolutely ridiculous – by far the most unpleasant security I have seen since Tel Aviv Plage in 2015,” the observer, who asked not to be named out of concern open criticism of the police could lead to restrictions on access to future events, said.
In August 2015 – a year after Israel’s devastating assault on Gaza – Hidalgo’s administration sparked outrage by partnering with Israel for a propaganda stunt to turn part of the Seine river bank into a “Tel Aviv beach.”
Meanwhile, the observer said that those taking part in a pro-Israel counter demonstration across the street on Saturday “were treated like royalty” even though they were making obscene gestures at those attending the Palestine solidarity rally.
At one point, pro-Israel demonstrators turned on Hajer M’tiri, a 26-year-old journalist with Turkey’s Anadolu Agency, apparently because she wore a headscarf.
M’tiri told The Electronic Intifada she showed her press card to police, who let her approach the pro-Israel demonstrators to take photos. She said that she stayed close to the police and at some distance from the protesters.
Suddenly, she felt someone trying to pull her down to the ground and then felt a slap in the face. M’tiri said a woman continued to strike her and swear at her.
Very quickly she found herself surrounded by an angry mob hurling abuse at her as police watched and did nothing. When she called out that she was a journalist, some of the people shouted abuse including, “shit journalist” and called her a “terrorist” and “Islamist.”
“Instead of arresting those people, especially the woman who physically attacked me and slapped me in the face, the police were talking to her calmly, and I was the one pulled away,” M’tiri said.
A few minutes later, M’tiri, her producer and camera operator were forcibly removed from the area by police.
A credentialed journalist, M’tiri believes she would not have been treated the way she was if her appearance were different.
“It’s part of my life to be attacked just for being a Muslim woman,” M’tiri said. “All they saw was a hijabi girl and those police officers looked down on me.”
M’tiri later made a formal complaint at the police station and provided photos of those she says attacked her. She also posted the photos on her Facebook page in an effort to identify the suspects.

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