France arrests eight teens over anti-Semitic metro chants: prosecutors
November 13, 2023 07:56 PM
French authorities on Monday detained eight teenagers over anti-Semitic chants on the Paris metro that were filmed and widely shared on social media, prosecutors said.
The chanting by the youths, which took place on October 31, sparked new concern about an upsurge in anti-Semitism in France amid the war between Israel and Palestinian militant group Hamas.
The eight, who live in areas outside central Paris, are currently being interrogated by transport police, a source close to Paris prosecutors, who asked not to be named, told AFP.
The chanting took place on the widely-used line 3 that runs through the heart of the French capital.
They are aged between 13-17 and are being investigated on suspicion of justifying terror and provoking racial hatred, prosecutors said.
Over 1,250 anti-Semitic attacks have been recorded in France, according to authorities, since the start of the war sparked by the October 7 attack by Hamas on Israel.
The attack killed around 1,200 people, mostly civilians, according to the Israeli authorities, while the Hamas-run health ministry says more than 11,000 Palestinians, mostly civilians and many of them children, have been killed by Israel's response in the Gaza Strip.
Over 180,000 people turned out across France on Sunday according to police figures, 105,000 of them in Paris, to join marches "for the republic and against anti-Semitism".
"This is a case extremely emblematic of the anti-Semitism which has developed since October 7," said Yonathan Arfi, president of the Representative Council of Jewish Institutions in France (CRIF), of the anti-Semitic chants on the metro.
He expressed concern "that the dams have been broken" among young people on the issue over the last month.
"We hope there will be severe sanctions but also a pedagogical message as there is a real issue with this kind of position among the younger generation," he told BFM-TV.