In Nice, standoff between prefect and pro-Palestinian demonstrators

The weeks follow one another and are similar on the Côte d’Azur. For the sixth time in six weeks, the Nice administrative court on Wednesday challenged an order from the prefect of the Alpes-Maritimes Hugues Moutouhwhich persists in banning pro-Palestinian gatherings.

On the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, two Nice residents called for a silent vigil in the city center on November 29. A few dozen people placed candles on the ground, with a Palestinian flag and portraits of civilians marked “murdered by Israel,” noted an AFP journalist.

But, as every time since October, the organizers had to go through the administrative court to invalidate a ban order from the prefect. “The subject is hotter here than elsewhere, with around sixtyanti-Semitic acts since October 7, we have been in the top three of the affected departments, Hugues Moutouh explained to AFP on Wednesday afternoon.

The decree thus evoked “a serious and particularly worrying climate which the demonstrations, solely in support of the Palestinian people, contribute to exacerbating”. So far, no incidents have been reported during the pro-Palestinian protests.

Pro-Israeli rallies at the call of local authorities

“The prefect forces us to only support the people he chooses,” replied Amira Zeiter, one of the two organizers, on Wednesday evening, recalling the Israeli flag hanging from the pediment of the town hall and the pro-Israeli rallies at the call from local authorities.

Hugues Moutouh affirms that the rallies in support of the Palestinians “have a character anti-Zionist “. “This does not promote peace and public order. And the organizers tell us that they are not in a position to control who comes or to organize security,” he believes.

The Nice administrative court followed him for the ban on a first demonstration on October 22 – which earned Amira Zeiter 23 hours of police custody – but then invalidated all his orders in the name of freedom of expression .

A new gathering has been announced for Saturday and the prefect has no intention of giving in, believing that even if rebutted, his bans at least make it possible to limit the virulence of the slogans. And his decrees, he ures, are not reserved for pro-Palestinians: “We are talking about a gathering of the identity right in preparation. I will ban it too.”

The Hamas attack in Israel on October 7 caused approximately 1,200 dead, mostly civilians, according to Israeli authorities. In retaliation, Israel carried out mive bombings on the Palestinian enclave of Gaza, then launched a ground offensive, which left nearly 15,000 dead, according to the Hamas government.

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