Riot police out in force in Paris to stop Islam film demos
Riot police were deployed in several areas of Paris Saturday to enforce a ban on protests over an anti-Islam film or against a French magazine that published cartoons mocking the Prophet Mohammed.
Squads were positioned near the city’s Grand Mosque, on the Trocadero square that overlooks the Eiffel Tower, and on the Place de la Concorde, where a week ago an unauthorized demo about the film led to police making 150 arrests.
Social networks have been awash this week with appeals for Muslims in France, home to western Europe’s largest Islamic community, to defy the ban and hold fresh protests.
But by mid-afternoon Saturday, there were no reports of anyone trying to protest in the capital.
France’s Muslim leaders on Friday urged militants not to defy the ban. Interior Minister Manuel Valls made it clear he will not sanction any protests this weekend on the grounds they will inevitably represent a threat to public order.
On Saturday a 24-year-old rail worker was sentenced to three months in jail for carrying a weapon and taking part in a gathering of armed persons during last Saturday’s protest in Paris.
French police have meanwhile arrested a man for apparently calling on a jihadi website for the decapitation of the editor of the magazine that published the cartoons mocking Mohammed, a judicial source said.
The man was detained in the western city of La Rochelle for calling on the radical website for the head of Stephane Charbonnier, head of satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo, which on Wednesday published cartoons of a naked Mohammed.