Sarcelles is a culturally enriched suburb north of Paris. Last weekend, especially on Sunday, Sarcelles was catapulted into the headlines by pro-Palestinian demonstrations that metamorphosed into anti-Jewish riots targeting a synagogue and Jewish businesses. The smoldering shop fronts and smashed display windows were reminiscent of Kristallnacht in 1938, only this time the perpetrators were not blond blue-eyed Europeans wearing uniforms, but culture-enrichers wearing sweatshirts, sneakers, and baseball caps — “youths” exemplifying France’s rich rainbow tapestry of vibrant diversity.
Many thanks to Oz-Rita for translating this French news report, and to Vlad Tepes for the subtitling. Translator’s note: “Be aware that Chanel 2 — French State TV, probably the French equivalent of the BBC — are dhimmi and Islamophile, so it must be really getting bad over there if even they come out on the side of the Jews.”
Below are excerpts from several news articles about last weekend’s violence in Sarcelles. First, from The Local (hat tip Fjordman):
Pro-Palestinian rally near Paris ends in violence
A Pro-Palestinian demo ended in violence in a Paris suburb on Sunday, just a day after a similar rally to denounce Israel’s attack on Gaza in the centre of the French capital, also descended into a riot as protesters clash with police.
A rally in the Paris suburb town of Sarcelles that had also initially been banned ended in chaos as several cars were burnt or vandalised, shops were looted and young protesters lit firecrackers and smoke bombs.
Early Sunday evening, tensions were still high in the town, with riot police blocking access to the local synagogue, where a group of young vigilantes stood armed with clubs and iron bars — one of them flying an Israeli flag.
The violence echoed similar scenes at a banned pro-Palestinian rally in the cente of Paris on Saturday afternoon.
As the evening wore on in Sarcelles, looters then began raiding shops, wrecking a funeral home and destroying its front window as several protesters shouted: “F*** Israel!”.
Others raided a drugstore which caught fire. Young girls grabbed baby milk inside.
“We’re going to get the cash register,” one person shouted, his voice drowned by the noise of a police helicopter overhead and the alarm of a nearby pizzeria.
Security forces then fired rubber bullets in the direction of the looters as police helicopters buzzed overhead.
At least 13 rioters had been arrested by the early evening, and four policemen had been hospitalised with several others injured. There were also reports of journalists being attacked by the rioters.
Le Figaro newspaper also reported that a molotov cocktail had been thrown at a synagogue in the area, which was being garded by police. The makeshift incendiary device exploded next to the building but did not set it alight, the newspaper reported.
“The atmosphere is very tense, we are waiting for reinforcements from the gendarmes,” one police officer told Le Figaro.
Organisers have defiantly called for another rally in the French capital on Saturday, starting at 1300 GMT in the central Republic Square.
The Israeli offensive has stoked passions in France, which has the largest Muslim population in western Europe as well as a 500,000-strong Jewish community.
From Al Bawaba (hat tip JP):
Fears grow in France as anti-Israel protests turn violent
Fears are growing that the Gaza conflict could transfer to the streets of France after Jewish-owned shops were burned and pillaged last night during a second violent pro-Palestinian demo in the space of two days.
Riot police held back a mob of youths who tried to attacks two synagogues in the town of Sarcelles in the northern Paris suburbs.
A pro-Gaza demonstration in a town with a large Jewish population began peacefully but degenerated into attacks on Jewish and Chaldean businesses and four hours of running battles between youths and police.
Several cars were burned. Three shops, including a Kosher grocery, were burned and pillaged. A railway station was severely damaged.
The interior minister, Bernard Cazeneve said today: “When you menace synagogues and when you burn a grocery because it is Jewish-owned, you are committing anti-Semitic acts… That is intolerable. Protest against Israel is legitimate. Nothing can justify such violence.”
The riot in Sarcelles — which was for many years run by disgraced French politician, Dominique Strauss-Kahn — followed violent scenes during a pro-Palestinian demonstration in northern Paris on Saturday afternoon.
From ABC News (hat tip JP):
French Youth, Police Clash at Anti-Israeli Protest
Pro-Palestinian French youth defying a ban on a protest against Israel’s Gaza offensive clashed with police Sunday, setting fire to cars, pillaging stores and attacking two synagogues in Paris suburbs.
Police, backed by a helicopter overhead, responded with tear gas and shots from non-lethal guns during hours of unrest in the northern suburb of Sarcelles, home to a large Jewish community.
An umbrella group representing French Jews, known as CRIF, said Sunday night that the Sarcelles synagogue was attacked. The group said that in nearby Garges les Gonesse, Molotov cocktails were thrown at another synagogue, starting a small fire that was quickly extinguished.
France “will tolerate no act, no words that could give rise to anti-Semitism,” [President François] Hollande said.
The words by the French leaders were ignored by Sunday’s events.
In Sarcelles, several hundred young protesters broke away from a calm pro-Palestinian gathering to riot and clash with police. Some went after the synagogue, CRIF said. Scores of Jewish youth — some armed with iron bars — then encircled a synagogue to “protect” it, watched by a cordon of police.
|00:00||This morning in Sarcelles, the day after clashes in several areas, especially|
|00:04||around the synagogue. Five hours of urban guerrilla and violence targeting|
|00:08||the Jewish community, anti-Semitic violence, denounced by the Prime Minister,|
|00:12||riots which exploded at the margins of a pro-Palestinian rally.|
|00:16||Reporting by David Fossard:|
|00:20||a still smoking heap in the middle of the road,|
|00:24||burned-down, ransacked shops after five hours of attacks,|
|00:28||the streets of Sarcelles are defaced. At 3 pm|
|00:32||yesterday the start was calm.|
|00:36||Despite the ban on the demonstration,|
|00:40||pro-Palestinians assembled to let their voices be heard.|
|00:44||(shouts: Israel Assassin) It’s not possible (inaudible)|
|00:48||it’s a demonstration of support, it’s not to smash|
|00:52||(unclear). Yet, when dispersal is announced,|
|00:56||a group of demonstrators head to the synagogue and militants of the Jewish Defence League.|
|01:00||A cordon of riot police faces them.|
|01:04||The face-off is violent. Stones against tear gas.|
|01:08||A car in the middle is set on fire, too.|
|01:12||Then the thugs attack shops.|
|01:16||This tobacconist’s is sacked.|
|01:20||Shop manager: They tore off the curtain.|
|01:24||There were dozens to enter and vandalise|
|01:28||the inside and take valuable objects|
|01:32||such as tobacco, stamps, games.|
|01:36||They are not demonstrators, they are thugs,|
|01:41||they are thieves. Among the targeted shops, this kosher grocer,|
|01:45||already victim of an attack two years ago.|
|01:49||18 persons have been arrested, 11 were still detained this morning.|
|01:53||During a visit at the synagogue, the Interior Minister|
|01:57||has firmly condemned this violence.|
|02:01||It’s intolerable that one attacks|
|02:05||synagogues or shops because they belong to|
|02:09||Jews. Nothing can justify the anti-Semitism.|
|02:13||In the days leading up to the rally, posters|
|02:17||and graffiti appeared. Calls to come equipped and armed.|
|02:21||Advertisements which announced already what was to come.|
|02:25||The emotion is huge because 15,000 Jews mix with an important|
|02:29||Muslim community. By the way, the town is called “Little Jerusalem”.|
|02:33||The coexistence had been rather peaceful, but today|
|02:37||the Jewish community is in shock:|
|02:41||Sarcelles, unrecognisable this morning, licks its wounds.|
|02:45||This town for so long paraded for its multiculturalism.|
|02:49||The siege of one of the most important Jewish communities in Europe,|
|02:53||between 12,000 and 15,000 Jews who are devastated today.|
|02:57||I have lived here 41 years, we have never seen this.|
|03:01||They should not do this.|
|03:05||To see the shop of (Nauri?) and the other shop|
|03:09||where I buy my papers, it’s horrible.|
|03:13||We are in a war.|
|03:17||Onlookers also share their anger.|
|03:21||What happens in the Middle East is political, it’s their problem.|
|03:25||We are Jews, it’s their problem, they should not mix up everything.|
|03:30||The Jewish community of Sarcelles started|
|03:34||in the sixties with the decolonisation. Jews from North Africa|
|03:38||settle down massively in this new city, in the Val d’Oise.|
|03:42||It is estimated that 60% still keep kosher|
|03:46||and practice their religious holidays.|
|03:50||Since then the city has cultivated its specificity, Jews and Muslims side by side, peacefully.|
|03:54||It’s the first time that Sarcelles has been the theatre of such violence|
|03:58||This place was created by|
|04:02||immigration, an encounter between Jews,|
|04:06||Muslims, Christians, and all communities.|
|04:10||What happened is a first, and must be condemned. A pharmacy destroyed|
|04:14||by yesterday’s riots. A symbol: The staff were here,|
|04:18||Jews and Muslims. We always worked together.|
|04:22||All communities were in this pharmacy.|
|04:26||Everything was always good among us, we would never have thought|
|04:30||that such things could happen here in Sarcelles.|
|04:34||You were happy to work together? Yes, frankly,|
|04:38||it was a joy to work here.|
|04:42||The town mayor visits the Jewish community,|
|04:46||aware of the trauma. For the first time they have seen|
|04:50||HATRED. Anti-Semitism has been here for a long time, they lived with it,|
|04:54||but such a hatred, such a collective violence that attacks the community,|
|04:58||they have never seen that. So it’s more than worry, it’s fear,|
|05:02||anxiety, and so people are terrorised today.|
|05:06||Tears must be tried in Sarcelles, trust between communities must be rebuilt,|
|05:10||seriously damaged. Other reactions|
|05:14||come from the Prime Minister…
For a complete listing of previous enrichment news, see The Cultural Enrichment Archives.