Paris, France – An anti-Israel rally in Paris turned ugly on Sunday after hundreds of pro-Palestinian supporters attempted to take a synagogue by storm.
The incident occurred early Sunday evening just as thousands of demonstrators who had gathered in support of the Palestinians and the people of Gaza were dispersing from the site between Barbès and the Place de la Bastille.
At one point, dozens of people wearing keffiyeh and waving flags of Jihad attempted to use force to enter the Don Yitzchak Abarbanel Synagogue at rue de la Roquette.
A police spokeswoman said the synagogue was targeted during a service, and worshippers were blocked inside while police pushed protesters back.
The spokeswoman said all those inside left safely by Sunday evening.
According to Sacha Reingewirtz, President of the Union of Jewish Students of France (UEJF), about thirty people began shouting “death to Jews” while several hundred began hurling projectiles at the synagogue.
French media is reporting that six police officers were injured by hooligans during the ensuing melee as they attempted to prevent them from entering the Shul.
Reports say that four Jewish community members sustained minor injuries and nine people were arrested.
“It is absolutely outrageous that people in the pretext of conflict address the Jews in a call to kill them,” Reingewitz said.
In a statement French Prime Minister Manuel Valls strongly condemned the violence that took place.
“Such acts at places of worship are unacceptable.” “I would like to remind strongly that France will never tolerate an attempt by the violence of words, or acts on its soil to import the Israeli-Palestinian conflict”, said Valls.
Aline Le Bail-Kremer watched the incident unfold from her window across the street. She said protesters came from two directions and converged on the synagogue, grabbing chairs from sidewalk cafes and wielding bats as they tried to push past security guards.
Some 150 people were inside for a ceremony honoring three Israeli teens recently killed, said Le Bail-Kremer, a representative of anti-racism group SOS Racisme.
Sunday’s protest, involving about 10,000 people, had been largely peaceful.
Despite sporadic rain, the marchers packed long and leafy Paris avenues, including young women in headscarves or Palestinian keffiyeh scarves. Some marched under enormous Palestinian green, white and black flags, while others waved signs reading “Stop Killing Children.”