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French PM defends ban on pro-Gaza rally after violence

A woman holds a Palestinian flag as she protests on July 16, 2014 in Paris against Israel's deadly bombing of GazaFrance’s prime minister on Sunday defended a controversial decision to ban a pro-Palestinian demonstration in Paris that went ahead anyway and descended into violence. The rally Saturday in a northern district of the French capital was initially peaceful, but scores of men later clashed with riot police, throwing stones and bottles at security forces who responded with tear gas, sending locals and tourists scurrying. “What happened again yesterday in Paris — unacceptable unrest — justifies all the more the brave choice by the interior ministry to ban a demonstration,” Prime Minister Manuel Valls said Sunday. Just hours after his comments, a rally in the Paris suburb town of Sarcelles that had also initially been banned ended in chaos as several cars were burnt, others had their windows smashed and young protesters lit firecrackers and smoke bombs.

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