Macron condemns anti-Semtism at ‘yellow vests’ protest

Paris court begins investigation into abuse aimed at French philosopher at demonstration

 Protesters from the ‘Gilets Jaunes’ movement clash with French riot police near the Invalides during a demonstration in Paris, France. Photograph: Julien de rosa/EPA

Protesters from the ‘Gilets Jaunes’ movement clash with French riot police near the Invalides during a demonstration in Paris, France. Photograph: Julien de rosa/EPA

 

A Paris court said on Sunday it had begun an investigation into anti-Semitic insults hurled at French philosopher and intellectual Alain Finkielkraut on the sidelines of Saturday’s “yellow vests” protest.

A video on several French media channels showed Mr Finkielkraut being accosted by several protesters.

The “yellow vests” demonstrations, named after the protesters’ high-visibility jackets, began in November over fuel taxes but have morphed into a more general revolt against politicians and a government they see as out of touch.

French writer and philosopher Alain Finkielkraut. Photograph: Joël Saget/AFP/Getty Images
French writer and philosopher Alain Finkielkraut. Photograph: Joël Saget/AFP/Getty Images

Mr Finkielkraut told Le Parisien newspaper that he came across a group of protesters and approached them out of curiosity. He said he heard some of the insults, including one telling him to throw himself into a canal. He said he does not plan to file a complaint.

French president Emmanuel Macron and others from across the political spectrum condemned the attack.

“The anti-Semitic insults he has been subjected to are the absolute negation of who we are and what makes us a great nation. We will not tolerate them,” Mr Macron said on Twitter.

The French government said on Tuesday that anti-Semitic acts in France rose 74 per cent in 2018 compared with the previous year. In a separate incident this week, swastikas were sprayed on portraits of the late French politician and Holocaust survivor Simone Veil in Paris.

Fourteen French political parties, including Mr Macron’s ruling La Republique En Marche, plan to hold symbolic gatherings against anti-Semitism across the country on Tuesday. –Reuters