Pro-Palestine Protests and Arrests in Germany, France, and the United States
Protests and Arrests at Capitol Hill
Many pro-Palestine protestors were detained in Germany, France and the United States, as people outraged by Israel’s latest attack on Gaza hospital killed almost 500 people on Tuesday.
Scores of pro-Palestine demonstrators were placed under arrest after taking part in an unauthorized demonstration in the rotunda of the Cannon House office building on Capitol Hill Wednesday.
Protests in the United States
Earlier in the day, thousands of people organized by the Jewish Voice for Peace and IfNotNo advocacy groups came to the National Mall to demand an immediate halt to the ongoing violence in Gaza in order to stop what they said is a “genocide” against the Palestinian people.
Demonstrators chanted “Ceasefire now” and “free, free Palestine” slogans.
Protests in France
Some donned shirts saying, “Jews Say Ceasefire Now,” and some carried banners saying, “Not in my name,” “End the siege of Gaza,” “Zionism = Fascism.”
Following the arrests at the Capitol, hundreds of other demonstrators shut down Independence Avenue in front of the Cannon building’s main entrance.
Capitol Police reported that among the arrests, three individuals have been charged with assaulting a police officer during processing.
Unlawful Fines in France
In France, a group of journalists was “unlawfully” fined by French police while covering a pro-Palestine protest in Paris on Wednesday afternoon.
Journalists Fined Despite Press Cards
The unprecedented fining of journalists occurred at the central Place de la Republique (Republic Square), where dozens of protesters gathered in solidarity with Palestine, a day after an Israeli airstrike killed more than 470 people in Gaza.
A journalist who was fined €135 ($143) told Anadolu Agency (AA) that he was fined despite showing his press card, issued by the French Culture Ministry, which would under normal conditions allow any bearer to work freely to cover any public event.
“I showed my press card, but the officer told me that he does not care about it and needs only my ID, accusing me of participating in a prohibited demonstration,” the journalist, who preferred to remain anonymous for fear of further police persecution, told AA.
He said: “Even though I explained the reason that I was there to cover the event and not to participate in it, he started filling in information from my ID and told me that I had to pay a fine of 135 euros, advising me that the same time not to come to any future gatherings otherwise I would pay the same amount of money again. This is an unlawful fine.”
Ban on Pro-Palestine Demonstrations in France
On the advice of the Interior Ministry, demonstrations in support of Palestine have been banned in France since Oct. 12.
Earlier on Wednesday, the Council of State stated that it is up to the prefects (local government representatives) to assess all gatherings “case by case” to determine whether there was a risk of disrupting public order.
However, French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin issued an order, once again, prohibiting all pro-Palestinian gatherings in the country.
People attending the ceremony did not carry any Palestinian flags or specific clothing, nor did they chant any slogans in solidarity with Palestine, according to the journalist.
The journalist also said that he and the other journalists found themselves “circled by police officers who would not leave anybody.”
“I showed my press card, but an officer told me that he ‘does not care about it’ and needs only my ID, accusing me of participating in a ‘prohibited demonstration’,” he added.
“Even though I explained why I was there, he started filling in information from my ID and told me that I had to pay a fine of 135 euros, advising me at the same time not to come to any future gatherings otherwise I would pay the same amount of money again.”
“I told the officer that the Council of State has nullified the government’s decision to ban pro-Palestine demonstrations,” but his colleague responded, “We took orders!”
The fined journalist also told AA that he felt threatened and sad in the name of the freedom of the press and freedom of expression with the absurd ban and fining from the police.
Protests in Germany
Police intervened in Germany against those who wanted to demonstrate Wednesday in support of Palestine.
Officials did not allow pro-Palestine protests in Berlin and Frankfurt on the grounds that those demonstrations were banned.
Police clashed with demonstrators in Berlin because protests were not authorized which resulted in the arrest of 50 individuals.
Some protesters who were gathered on Sonnenallee Street faced harsh police intervention after throwing stones and bottles at authorities.
Demonstrators set up barricades on the street and set fire to garbage containers and scooters.
Protesters in Frankfurt were sprayed with water cannons and some who resisted were detained.
There were also short-lived support demonstrations in Kassel, Bochum and Wuppertal. Those protests ended without incident.
Humanitarian Crisis in Gaza
Gaza is currently experiencing a dire humanitarian crisis with no electricity, while water, food, fuel, and medical supplies are running out.
At least 471 people were killed and 342 injured in an Israeli airstrike on the Al-Ahli Baptist Hospital in Gaza late Tuesday, the Gaza Health Ministry said on Wednesday.
Israel has denied responsibility for the strike.
The conflict began Oct. 7 when Hamas initiated Operation Al-Aqsa Flood — a multi-pronged surprise attack that included a barrage of rocket launches and infiltrations into Israel by land, sea and air.
Hamas said the incursion was in retaliation for the storming of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and growing violence by Israeli settlers.
The Israeli military then launched Operation Swords of Iron against Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip.
U.N. chief Antonio Guterres has called for an “immediate humanitarian cease-fire” to ease the “epic human suffering.”
At least 3,478 Palestinians have so far been killed. The death toll in Israel stands at more than 1,400.