France – Thousands Rally in Paris: Free Gilad Shalit

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    A person holds a placard reading, "Release Guilad Shalit" in front of Paris' courthouse in 2009. Several thousand people demonstrated on Tuesday in Paris for the release of an Israeli soldier held captive in the Gaza Strip for nearly four years and to support Israel. France – About 10,000 people attended a rally in Paris Tuesday to mark the fourth anniversary of Gilad Shalit’s abduction.

    The protest, organized by the umbrella organization of French Jews, CRIF, was the first massive pro-Israel event since the Gaza flotilla incident. Speakers on stage condemned Hamas and urged the release of Shalit, who is also a French national.

    Speaking at the event, CRIF President Richard Prasquier said: “We urge the French government, which supported the easing of the Gaza blockade, to call for Gilad’s release. De-legitimizing Israel is de-legitimizing part of who we are, and we won’t support that.”

    Politicians from both the Left and Right spoke at the event. One of them, Paris Deputy Mayor Anne Hidalgo, said that city council has decided to grant Shalit honorary citizenship of the city.

    “This is a symbolic act that will raise awareness and bring results on the ground,” she said.

    With the exception of Jewish organizations, the rally was also attended by representatives’ of France’s black citizen federation, Armenian friends of Israel, and about 500 pro-Israel Christians


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