An extra 300 police officers will be deployed in Paris on Thursday, August 13th, when the city recreates the beaches of Tel Aviv on the banks of the river Seine.
VICE News Dubbed “Tel Aviv sur Seine” (Tel Aviv on Seine) on social media, the event is part of an annual initiative known as Paris Plages (Paris Beaches), in which the banks of the Seine are transformed into a temporary public beach. Thefestival includes food trucks, concerts, and games, and will run from 10 AM to 10 PM.
Pro-Palestinian advocates and France’s leftist politicians have reacted angrily to the event, which comes just one year after the 2014 Israel-Gaza conflict. Tense discussions and images of devastation in Gaza have flooded social media, prompting the authorities to increase security out of fear of violence. A Paris government spokesperson told VICE News that the Tel Aviv-themed event is “high-risk.”
Others have been outspoken against the event, including local councilor and Left Party Secretary Danielle Simonnet, who accused the city of “utter indecency.”
Simonnet had urged the city to cancel the “cynical” event in a statement published on her website, proposing instead to schedule “meetings and debates” about the current political situation in Israel.
Conservative lawmaker Eric Ciotti fired back at critics of the event, saying he was “scandalised” by the reaction of France’s “far-left,” whose rhetoric he accused of having “anti-Semitic overtones.”
The pro-Palestinian group CAPJPO-Europalestine has urged protesters to gather on the banks of the Seine on Thursday between noon and 9pm for a “Gaza sur Seine” protest against an event it has described as “obscene.”