More than a thousand join Paris protest on Israeli raid

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About 1,200 people joined a noisy protest in Paris Monday against Israel's deadly raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla, and further demonstrations were planned for the weekend.

Demonstrators rallied near the Israeli embassy waving Palestinian flags and shouting slogans such as "Palestine will survive, Palestine will conquer", while some voiced support for the Hamas movement that governs the blockaded Gaza strip.

Scuffles broke out when a dozen rival protestors waving Israeli flags approached, prompting police to fire tear gas, but calm was soon restored.

Around a hundred protestors threw stones at officers and tried to break police barriers surrounding the Israeli embassy.

The demonstrators swelled to about 1,200 according to police, after the start of the protest earlier Monday evening near the embassy off the Champs Elysees in central Paris.

The protest was organised by a grouping of pro-Palestinian associations and was joined by various left-wing political organisations. Some groups called for daily demos all this week plus another bigger protest on Saturday.

Israeli naval forces stormed a Gaza-bound aid flotilla in international waters early on Monday, killing at least nine pro-Palestinian activists on board one of the ships.

One of the groups that organised the Paris protest, CAPJPO, called the raid a "barbarous act".

Other demonstrations took place elsewhere in France including some 1,300 protesters gathering in Lille in the north and similarly in Strasbourg in the east.

© 2010 AFP

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