French Protest For Peace Carried Out In Silence

Between 15,000 and 20,000 people participated in the peace march in Paris on November 19. Belgian actress Lubna Azabal organized the march.

The march aimed to bring attention to the conflict between Israel and Palestine and promote harmony and peace in France.

On Sunday, peace-loving French citizens and supporters of Palestinian rights marched through the streets of downtown Paris carrying olive branches and white placards. The group marched from the Arab World Institute to the Museum of Art and History of Judaism across the Seine River. The throng included actors Emmanuelle Beart and Isabelle Adjani, singers, and other cultural luminaries.

Azabal planned the march as a quiet demonstration, so participants carried only a single white banner.

Protests and tensions have erupted for weeks in France, home to sizable Jewish and Muslim populations, over the Israel-Hamas conflict. The French government is attempting to negotiate the release of eight French hostages held by Hamas while also advocating for a ceasefire to allow humanitarian supplies to reach the Palestinian people in Gaza. On October 7th, Hamas launched an attack in southern Israel, killing 40 French nationals.

On Saturday, French President Emmanuel Macron engaged in diplomatic efforts with Netanyahu of Israel, Abbas of the Palestinian Authority, and the rulers of Qatar and Egypt. Macron repeated his belief that Israel has a right to defend against attacks but decried “too countless civilian fatalities” in Gaza. He pleaded for a quick humanitarian ceasefire.

Saturday saw the latest in a series of rallies in major cities across the world since the start of the Israel-Hamas war when thousands of pro-Palestinian and left-wing demonstrators protested in Paris and around Britain to urge for a cease-fire. World War II survivors joined young Jewish activists outside of Paris’ Holocaust monument to raise awareness of the rise in antisemitic speech, graffiti, and abuse that has been connected to the conflict in the Middle East.