Gaza conflict: France jails pro-Palestinian rioters

Rioters face police in Sarcelles, northern Paris, 20 July Image copyright AP
Image caption A demonstration in Sarcelles ended in rioting, with shops and a synagogue targeted

A French court has jailed three men for rioting after a pro-Palestinian rally in a mixed suburb of Paris degenerated into anti-Semitic violence.

The three men, aged 21 and 28, were given sentences of between six and 10 months for their part in the rioting in Sarcelles on Sunday.

A fourth man was given a suspended sentence while a minor received a fine.

Prime Minister Manuel Valls condemned the violence, which erupted at a protest over Israel's actions in Gaza.

At least 649 Palestinians, most of them civilians, and 31 Israelis have been killed in 15 days of fighting, as Israel targets militant rocket crews inside the densely populated Gaza Strip.

European Union foreign ministers condemned anti-Semitic incidents at Gaza protests across the EU when they met on Tuesday.

'No place in our societies'

Jewish-owned businesses and a synagogue were targeted in Sarcelles during Sunday's protest, which had been banned by the authorities.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Rioters facing police in Barbes, Paris, on Sunday

Three men convicted of rioting on the same day in the Parisian district of Barbes were given suspended sentences on Tuesday.

A week before the violence in Sarcelles, protesters had tried to target two Paris synagogues, prompting the government to impose a ban on demonstrations.

France has both the largest Muslim and largest Jewish communities in the EU.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, France's Laurent Fabius and Italy's Federica Mogherini issued a joint statement after they met in Brussels.

"Anti-Semitic rhetoric and hostility against Jews, attacks on people of Jewish belief and synagogues have no place in our societies," the ministers said.

While they respected demonstrators' freedom of speech and right to assemble, they added, they would also do everything possible to fight "acts and statements that cross the line to anti-Semitism, racism and xenophobia".

A new, legal pro-Palestinian rally is due to be held in the French capital on Wednesday evening, organised by leftist groups. About 30 MPs from the ruling Socialist Party are due to attend, according to Le Parisien daily.

Mr Valls said he had been given security guarantees by the organisers.

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