Paris court reverses police ban on Iranian opposition rally

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A Paris court on Friday reversed a decision by the French capital’s police to ban an upcoming Iranian opposition rally over the risk of an attack, saying it interfered with the basic freedom to protest.

The ruling by the Paris administrative tribunal comes as police are fully stretched amid the worst riots seen across cities in France since 2005 sparked by the fatal police shooting of a teenager.

The Paris-based National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), political arm of the People’s Mujahideen Organization of Iran (PMOI), has held frequent rallies in the French capital over the years. They have attracted thousands of followers and are often attended by high profile former US, European and Arab officials critical of the Islamic Republic.

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In a letter signed by Paris police chief on June 15 and seen by Reuters said it could not allow the protest because of security concerns.

That ban came just days after the release of an Iranian diplomat convicted of masterminding a plot to bomb the group in 2018 and as Western powers seek to defuse tensions with Iran.

The court said the ban “excessively violated the fundamental freedom to demonstrate.” The rally will now take place near the French foreign ministry in central Paris on Saturday, for a limited period and be confined to one area. The protesters will also provide extra private security, the court said.

In a statement the NCRI welcomed the ruling, which it said denied Iran “the opportunity to exploit ‘security concerns’ under false pretenses in order to suppress democracy and freedom of expression.”

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