LONDON and PARIS (JTA) — Anti-Israel demonstrators clashed with police in several European capitals over the weekend.
Protests in London and Edinburgh on Saturday, drawing demonstrators on buses from all over the country, were organized by the Stop the War Coalition, a group initially established to protest against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan; the British Muslim Initiative, and the Palestine Solidarity Campaign. All of the organizations are affiliated with Muslim and far-left groups.
Tens of thousands of protestors marched through central London, in what started as an orderly demonstration, but deteriorated once the demonstrators arrived in the area of the Israeli embassy.
Hundreds of demonstrators broke down barriers and tried to enter the private road where the embassy is located. When riot police prevented their entry, the protesters used the police barriers to break the glass windows of shops and cafes, including Starbucks, from where they took cups and saucers to throw at the policemen.
Three police officers were injured — one of them was evacuated from the area unconscious, and two suffered facial injuries. Twelve demonstrators were also transferred to hospitals, some injured by projectiles thrown by other demonstrators.
In the Scottish capital, Edinburgh, about 4,000 protestors marched through the city center. At the gates of the American consulate they began rioting, throwing shoes and red paint.
A massive pro-Palestinian protest in Paris ended in violence for the second time in a week.
Police estimated that 30,000 protesters gathered Saturday at the Place Republique, despite icy road conditions from a cold spell. The crowd compared Israel to the Nazis and burned Israeli flags.
Youth donning Palestinian flags and kaffiyehs threw stones and other objects at riot police who responded with tear-gas and water hoses. Some 12 officers were injured, according to police, who also said 180 people were arrested, nine stores were vandalized and motor scooters were torched.
About 3,800 police attempted to maintain order. Jewish organizations blamed a similar march last week on a sharp rise in anti-Jewish incidents in France. The National Bureau of Vigilance Against Anti-Semitism had asked police to stop Saturday’s march.
More than 90,000 pro-Palestinian protestors demonstrated throughout France on Saturday.