Macron attacks yellow vests after philosopher abused at rally
Posted February 17, 2019 6:02 a.m. EST
Updated February 17, 2019 7:29 a.m. EST
CNN — French President Emmanuel Macron has condemned abuse by a group of "yellow vest" protesters, after a well-known philosopher was verbally attacked at a rally in Paris on Saturday.
Several gilets jaunes (or "yellow vest") protesters were filmed hurling abuse at philosopher and vocal Israel supporter Alain Finkielkraut as he ran into protesters during the 14th consecutive weekend of marches.
Insults including "dirty zionist," "f***ing Islamophobe" and "f*** your mother" were hurled at Finkelkraut, while less hostile activists walked him away from the demonstration and behind police lines.
"The son of Polish emigrants who became a French academician, Alain Finkielkraut is not only an eminent man of letters but a symbol of what the Republic allows everyone," Macron wrote on Twitter.
"The anti-Semitic insults he has been subjected to are the absolute negation of who we are and what makes us a great nation. We will not tolerate them," he added.
Finkielkraut reacted in French weekly newspaper Le Journal Du Dimanche on Saturday, saying: "I felt absolute hatred, and unfortunately it wasn't the first time."
The Paris prosecutor's office has launched an investigation into "public abuse on the basis of origin, ethnicity, country, race or religion," an offense that carries a maximum sentence of one year in jail and a 45,000-euro ($51.000) fine.
Anti-Semitic acts in France increased by 69% in the first nine months of 2018, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said in November.