Tens of thousands of people took part in the march “for Democracy, against anti-Semitism” in Paris yesterday, after the explosive increase in anti-Semitic actions in France on the occasion of the October 7 massacre by Hamas and Israel’s military intervention in Gaza.

“A France where our Jewish fellow citizens are afraid is not France,” President Emmanuel Macron said earlier in his message, ahead of this mobilization organized by the presidents of the National Assembly and the Senate, Yael Bron-Pivet and Gérard Larcher.

Although he is not participating himself, the French president said he is “mentally” on the course.

At the head of the march, behind the large banner with the inscription “For Democracy, against anti-Semitism”, stood the presidents of the two Houses of Parliament, together with the Prime Minister Elizabeth Bourne, whose father was of Jewish origin. Also present were former presidents Francois Hollande and Nicolas Sarkozy, as well as former prime ministers.

“Oppositions must not tarnish this unprecedented initiative,” said Yael Bron-Pivet, referring mainly to the presence of far-right party leaders such as Marine Le Pen of National Alert and Eric Zemur of Reoccupation.

“We are exactly where we should be,” Marine Le Pen replied.

Activists from a left-wing Jewish organization, Golem, tried to oppose Le Pen’s presence, but were turned away by police.

“I didn’t think that one day I would have to protest against anti-Semitism,” Joanna, a 46-year-old secretary, told AFP.

Around 70 similar demonstrations took place across France today.

France Insubordinate, the radical left party of Jean-Luc Mélenchon, did not participate in the Paris mobilization, protesting the presence of the National Alert. The “Disobedients” were however present in other areas, such as in Strasbourg, where MPs of the party marched together with many thousands of residents. In other demonstrations, in Lyon and Nice, around 3,000 people took part.

In Paris, the Socialist and Communist Party, Ecological Europe-Greens, youth organizations and associations for the defense of human rights demonstrated behind a common banner with the slogan “Against anti-Semitism and all associations of hatred and racism”, to separate their position from the far right.