Fears are increasing that the conflict in Gaza could move to the streets of France after shops owned by Jews were pillaged and burned on Sunday night during a second pro-Palestinian demonstration that turned violent over the past two days.
Mobs of youths were held back by riot police after attempting to attack two synagogues in Sarcelles in a suburb north of Paris.
A demonstration that was pro-Gaza began peacefully in a town with a large population of Jews, but degenerated into violent attacks on Chaldean and Jewish-owned business as well as battles for four hours between police and youths.
A number of cars were set afire and ruined. Three shops, which included a kosher grocery, were pillaged and then burned. Demonstrators also severely damaged a railway station.
Bernard Cazaneve the Minister of the Interior said when synagogues are menaced and stores burned due to being owned by Jews, anti-Semitic acts are being committed and that is intolerable.
The minister said protesting against Israel is a legitimate protest, but violence is not justifiable.
The Sarcelles riot followed violent protests during a demonstration that was pro-Palestinian on Saturday afternoon in north Paris.
Over 30 people had been arrested and 18 police slightly injured after youths pelted the lines of police with bottle and stones. On Sunday night, police arrested another 18 people.
In both demonstrations, the violence did not come from the main part of the demonstrators, but from a big minority of youths that were of North African origin.
With more demonstrations in favor of the Palestinians scheduled for Wednesday and this coming Saturday, the government fears that the contagion of violence might spread to other multi-racial troubled suburbs of France.
Manual Val’s, the Prime Minister warned during the weekend that France was facing a new type of anti-Semitism, which was being fomented by the left and by different political activists such as Dieudonne the comedian who blames the Jews for the ills of the world.
Politicians opposed to the government accused the French government of inviting such violence due to banning both a march in Paris and a demonstration for Sarcelles.