Paris riot police deployed for pro-Israel rally

People demonstrate to support Israel's military action in the Gaza strip, near Israel's embassy in Paris, July 31, 2014. (Reuters)

Hundreds of riot police in Paris deployed near the Israeli Embassy Thursday for the first major pro-Israel rally since the start of the latest Gaza war.

Several thousand people turned out for the rally, waving signs with slogans like “Gaza hostage of Hamas” and “We protest for peace.”

The demonstration happened amid persistent reports the Jewish Defense League faces a government ban. JDD militants stepped in to assure security at synagogues during pro-Gaza protests, but were blamed for provoking violence at pro-Palestinian rallies.

France has both the largest Jewish and Muslim populations in Western Europe, and the Gaza war has raised tensions to their highest in years.

Roger Cukierman, head of the group organizing Thursday’s rally, said that Israel has the “right and duty to defend its citizens.”

Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said groups “that can pose problems” can be banned.

Last Update: 06:42 KSA 09:42 - GMT 06:42