French minister: 'Why I banned Gaza protests'

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In an interview with Mediapart the French interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve has justified his controversial decision to ban a number of planned protests over the Israeli war against Gaza. In doing so Cazeneuve insisted that it was his decision to ban those demonstrations, and not that of the president François Hollande or prime minister Manuel Valls. The interior minister insisted his ministry had “concrete evidence” that synagogues and Jewish businesses were going to be singled out in those protests. During the interview Cazeneuve also said he had often joined marches in the Palestinian cause in the past and “would have done so again” had he not been in office. Fabrice Arfi, Louise Fessard and Mediapart's editor-in-chief Edwy Plenel report.

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Last month Mediapart's editor-in-chief Edwy Plenel wrote an open letter to François Hollande saying the French president was “leading France astray” over his policy towards Israel at the time of that country's attack on Gaza. In particular the article attacked the government for banning a number of pro-Palestinian demonstrations in Paris, accusing the president of “losing his way” by giving in to this “easy, short-term” measure. Now, in an interview with Mediapart, France's interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve tackles head on the issue of why the government chose to impose the bans – decisions for which he says he takes full responsibility and which he stands by.