French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin imposed a ban on pro-Palestinian demonstrations Thursday, after the former leader of Hamas urged Muslims worldwide to stage protests in support of Palestinians in a “day of rage,” the militant group’s standard call for demonstrations. The order, reported by Agence France-Presse, says such rallies would probably disrupt public order.
The order came as French police were seen using tear gas and water cannons to disperse at least hundreds of pro-Palestinian demonstrators in Paris on the same day. It was also issued before French President Emmanuel Macron urged restraint to the country’s Muslims and Jews in a national address.
“Neither suspicions nor divisions must exist between us as a nation,” Macron said in a televised address, adding that antisemitism “has always been the prelude to other forms of hatred.” He called for the country to “condemn terrorism” and defend the country’s values.
The ban, issued in an order to police prefects throughout France, comes as Khaled Meshal, the former leader of Hamas, urged Muslims worldwide to stage demonstrations in support of Palestinians on Friday. He also urged people living in countries bordering Israel to join the fighting against Israel, in a recorded statement reported by Reuters this week. “[We must] head to the squares and streets of the Arab and Islamic world on Friday,” he said.
The statement has raised concerns about security in countries with significant Jewish populations, such as the United States, where police agencies nationwide were planning to increase patrols.
Worldwide, the Israel-Gaza war has triggered pro-Palestinian protests that authorities have sought to discourage.
In Sydney, pro-Palestinian demonstrators scrapped a march after a warning from the local police that the rally would be seen as unauthorized, the Guardian reported. In Britain, Home Secretary Suella Braverman warned demonstrators against waving the Palestinian flag to justify terror acts against Israelis. In New York, pro-Palestinian protesters stood off with pro-Israel protesters, local media reported.