Quoting from the week-old AP story:
French President Francois Hollande is treading a careful diplomatic path on the Mideast violence, and trying to keep related tensions from escalating in France as they have during Intifadas in the past.
On Sunday Hollande urged a cease-fire “as quickly as possible.” ''We will spare no effort, no trouble to achieve this," he said in a speech to dignitaries from around the world taking part in a special Bastille Day ceremony meant to celebrate peace.
Yesterday, France called on Qatar to pressure Hamas into negotiating for a ceasefire. Qatar has been a leading financial backer of Hamas.
And France has imposed a ban on pro-Palestinian rallies in Paris and two other locations. However, that that ban was defied.
Three Gaza solidarity demonstrations were banned in France on Saturday, with up to 3,000 defying the ruling in Paris and other authorised protests going ahead in about 15 other cities.
Following orders from Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve to examine the “danger to public order” posed by demonstrations this weekend, protests were also banned in Nice in the south-east and Sarcelles, near Paris.
President François Hollande earlier threatened that “those who want to demonstrate at any price” could be punished.
Organising a banned protest can be punished by up to six months in jail, according to French law.
Here is an added explanation of the protest ban:
Citing a “threat to public order”, Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve backed the police ban on the widely-advertised mass demonstrations, after members of the Jewish Defence League (LDJ) and pro-Palestinian groups clashed last Sunday.
“I consider that the conditions are not right to guarantee security,” Mr Cazeneuve said regarding the main Paris march, according to the Mail Online.
On Friday evening, lawyers for a number of groups responded by lodging an appeal against the ban in a Paris court.
Attending an illegal demonstration is punishable by a year in prison, and a €15,000 fine – a penalty which rises to a three year sentence and a €45,000 fine if a demonstrator covers their face to avoid being identified.
Meanwhile, publicising an illegal demonstration on social media can lead to a year-long prison sentence, and a €15,000 fine. This increases to seven years and a 100,000 fine if the post sparks violence.