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France rallies to denounce anti-Semitic insults at protests

Mass rallies are planned in Paris and other French cities Tuesday to denounce a flare-up of anti-Semitic acts which culminated in a violent tirade against a prominent writer during “yellow vest” anti-government protests last weekend.

Political leaders of all stripes called the rallies after a protester was caught on video calling the philosopher Alain Finkielkraut a “dirty Zionist” and telling him that “France belongs to us.”

President Emmanuel Macron called the insults “the absolute negation of who we are and what makes us a great nation. We will not tolerate it.”

His office said he would not take part in the rallies, though Prime Minister Edouard Philippe will be among several government officials at a Paris march starting at 7:00 pm (1800 GMT) at Place de la Republique.

The yellow vest protests began the last march against high fuel taxes and rising costs of living blamed on Macron’s policies, which critics say favor the well-off.

But officials accuse the grass-roots movement of helping unleash a wave of extremist violence that has fostered anti-Semitic outbursts among some participants.

Finkielkraut had initially supported the yellow vest movement, before criticizing the violence carried out against police forces by a fringe of suspected far-right and far-left demonstrators.

Protesters also launched anti-Semitic abuse at Ingrid Levavasseur, who tried to lead a yellow vest list for coming European Parliament elections, in Paris over the weekend.

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