(JTA) – About 500 police offers are patrolling a controversial beach event in Paris featuring Tel Aviv.
The Tel Aviv on Seine event, part of the weeklong Paris Plages festival, was held Thursday as planned, despite opposition from a Paris city councillor and pro-Palestinian groups. The festival turns the banks of the Seine River into a beach and this year is devoting each day to a beach in another country.
BNVCA, a French anti-Semitism watchdog, said it asked the Paris police commissioner to bolster security during the festival day devoted to Tel Aviv out of fear of anti-Semitic attacks.
Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo defended the decision to celebrate Tel Aviv in an op-ed in the French daily Le Monde, calling on the people of Paris to attend the event in large numbers. She called the city “progressive” and said that Paris and Tel Aviv have co-operated for many years in the fields of culture and technology.
French Prime Minister Manuel Valls in a tweet threw his “full support” behind the event, the French edition of the Local reported.
Pro-Palestinian and left-wing groups said they would protest the event. About 50 protesters, some wearing shirts reading “Justice in Palestine,” blocked the entrance to the event, according to BDS France.