Paris mayor condemns attack on French Jews at anti-war rally
PARIS - Paris Mayor Bertrand Delanoe condemned an attack on young French Jews at a demonstration against the war in Iraq, calling Monday for respect and dignity.
The Hashomer Hatzair youth organization said several dozen assailants struck two of its members with metal bars on the sidelines of a protest Saturday. They were treated for bruises at a hospital. Two other members suffered less serious violence, the group said.
"In the name of Parisians, I want to condemn, as strongly as possible, these unacceptable acts," Delanoe said in a statement. "In Paris, everyone must be respected in dignity, no matter what their culture, identity or spiritual faith."
The anti-war demonstration in Paris gathered 90,000 people, according to police, and was largely peaceful.
In the last two years, France has suffered a wave of violence against Jewish schools, temples and cemeteries that coincided with new fighting in the Middle East.
The violence, which peaked a year ago when a Marseille synagogue was burned to the ground, has markedly decreased. But Muslim-Jewish relations remain tense. France has the largest Jewish community in western Europe and one of the continent's biggest Muslim populations.
Some Jewish leaders have said they fear the war in Iraq will trigger new tensions.