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Anti-Israel and Anti-Arab Protesters Clash in Paris

The Middle East

April 08, 2002|From Associated Press

PARIS — Hundreds of demonstrators divided over the Middle East conflict battled in Paris on Sunday during a march against anti-Semitism, attacking journalists and stabbing a police officer before authorities dispersed them with tear gas.

The clash at the historic Place de la Bastille occurred on the sidelines of a march by 50,000 people protesting a wave of attacks on Jewish schools, cemeteries and synagogues in France amid escalating violence in the Middle East.

Hours after the clash, four gasoline bombs were thrown at a synagogue in La Corneuve, a working-class suburb north of Paris. The outside walls were blackened, but no injuries or damage were reported. Two other synagogues in France reported similar weekend attacks.

Violence also was reported at pro-Israeli marches in other French cities.

Pro-Palestinian demonstrations were held throughout Europe on Sunday. In Belgium, at least 10,000 people marched through the capital, Brussels, burning American flags near the U.S. Embassy and yelling, "Sharon-Bush: murderers!" About 5,000 staged a peaceful rally against Israel in Goteborg, Sweden.

Several hundred pro-Israel militants and up to 500 counter-demonstrators were involved in the fighting in Paris, police said. About 1,500 police and scores of anti-riot vehicles were deployed. A police officer was stabbed in the stomach, police said.

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