French President Emmanuel Macron called on citizens to remain united on Thursday in response to a rise in antisemitic violence following Hamas’ attacks on Israel.
In a broadcasted speech, the leader of France denounced the aggressive actions of Hamas, resulting in the loss of approximately 1,200 lives. He stated that the magnitude, brutality, and lack of compassion displayed have never been seen before in Israel’s past.
Macron also acknowledged concerns about the possibility of the conflict spreading to France, a country with significant Muslim and Jewish communities. He emphasized that the top priority was to safeguard French Jews from violence and prejudice.
According to French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin, there have been more than 100 instances of antisemitic behavior reported since Saturday. To safeguard Jewish educational and religious institutions, police officers have been dispatched. Yaël Braun-Pivet, who is Jewish and serves as the Speaker of the National Assembly, has been provided with police protection.
Macron stated that he understands the concerns of our Jewish citizens, who fear that the recent increase in violence could be used as a means to justify harmful words, accusations, or actions against them in France.
France is home to the largest Jewish population in Europe, with approximately 500,000 people, as well as one of the biggest Muslim communities in Europe, estimated at 5 million. In a speech, Macron expressed his understanding of the concerns of Muslims who may be stereotyped.
On Thursday, Darmanin declared that any pro-Palestinian protests in France would be prohibited.
According to a document initially seen by AFP and later reported on by various French media outlets, the minister issued “stringent orders” to prohibit “pro-Palestinian protests due to their potential to cause disruptions to public order.”
Darmanin stated that proper organization of these banned demonstrations should result in arrests.
The president of France also stated that a minimum of 13 French citizens have been officially reported as deceased in the assaults and an additional 17 individuals, including adults and children, are unaccounted for. It is highly likely that some of them are being held as hostages.
Macron pledged that France would make every effort to secure the freedom of the hostages being held by Hamas. He stated, “I want to emphasize that we will do everything in our power to ensure the release of these hostages, regardless of their nationality.”