Pro-Palestinian march in Paris draws Jews, Muslims

Published: Jun 5, 2010 22:52 Updated: Jun 5, 2010 22:52 

PARIS: Several thousand people demonstrated in Paris on Saturday to show 
solidarity with the Palestinians and denounce an Israeli raid on a Turkish aid 
boat bound for Gaza, with some Jews participating alongside Muslims.

Protesters gathered in the Bastille area, in a rally which included Palestinian 
flags and one banner saying "French Jewish Union For Peace" with around 100 
French Jews following it. It was not clear just how many were there in total.

"I think the blockade of Gaza is counter-productive for Israel," Michel 
Bontemps, a French Jew, told Reuters Television.

"Showing solidarity with the Palestinians in no way means you are a terrorist," 
added Youssef Ben Derbal, a French national who was on the Turkish aid ship 
seized by Israeli forces earlier this week.

On Saturday, Israel's navy boarded another aid ship to enforce its blockade of 
Gaza five days after its troops killed nine people on the Turkish aid boat, 
despite America saying the policy was "unsustainable."

In a further protest against Israel, French cinema operator Utopia said it 
would refuse to screen Israeli-made film "Five Hours From Paris," even though 
the movie is about a love-story and does not have a heavy political dimension 
to it.

In Dublin, hundreds of people marched through the city center to demonstrate 
against the seizure by Israel of the Rachel Corrie which carried Irish and 
other activists. The protesters headed for the foreign ministry, which has not 
commented on the boarding of the ship.

"(I came) to voice my absolute disgust at what the Israeli government has been 
at, kidnapping our citizens," said John Buckley, a college lecturer who took 
part in the protest.

"The Israelis have no right to intercept ships in the middle of the sea and 
they have no right to implement the blockade in the first place, it's 
completely illegal," he said.

In London, thousands of protesters wearing t-shirts with slogans like "Free 
Gaza" converged outside the prime minister's official residence at Downing 
Street, before staging a noisy march to the Israeli embassy.

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