Anti-Israel protesters push for restrictions for Israel in upcoming Olympics


An estimated 300 demonstrators gathered outside the Paris Organizing Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games organizers’ offices earlier this week.

The participation of the athletes who will represent Israel in the upcoming Olympics appeared to be the focus, as protesters demanded the implementation of strict limits on Israel’s participation in the Games.

Multiple protesters were seen with Palestinian flags, while some cited the ongoing war in Gaza as they chanted slogans in opposition of Israel’s “institutional participation” in the Olympics.

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Demonstrators make demands

Demonstrators demanding the boycott of Israel during Olympic Games demonstrate outside the Paris Olympic organizing committee headquarters, Tuesday, April 30, 2024 in Saint-Denis, outside Paris. (AP Photo/Alexander Turnbull)

Russian athletes will compete this summer under a neutral flag, and none of the country’s government officials will be permitted to attend the Games. Tuesday’s protesters argued that Israelis should follow similar protocols from the International Olympic Committee.

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“They didn’t need more than four days to decide to ban Russia and Belorussia from the Olympics after the invasion of Ukraine,” said Nicolas Shahshahani, who took part in the protest. “They are prepared to welcome the Israeli delegation.”

Protestors make demands

Demonstrators demanding the boycott of Israel during Olympic Games demonstrate outside the Paris Olympic organizing committee headquarters, Tuesday, April 30, 2024 in Saint-Denis, outside Paris. About 300 pro-Palestinian demonstrators took part on the protest. (AP Photo/Alexander Turnbull)

French President Emmanuel Macron previously spoke out in favor of IOC’s decision to allow Russian athletes to compete in the Olympics despite the Ukraine invasion, but under a neutral flag.

He defended the participation of Israeli athletes under their country’s flag despite its offensive in Gaza since Oct. 7, when Hamas-led militants stormed into southern Israel and killed around 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and abducted around 250 hostages.

Paris 2024 seen

The logo, Paris 2024 representing the Olympic Games, several months prior to the start of the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games is displayed on the façade of an official store on February 21, 2024 in Paris, France. (Chesnot/Getty Images)

“We cannot say that Israel is attacking,” Macron said. “Israel was a victim of a terrorist attack to which it is now responding to in Gaza.”

Tuesday’s protests came days after anti-Israel agitators, inspired by Gaza solidarity encampments at campuses in the U.S., staged protests and tried to occupy campus buildings at France’s two prestigious universities in the Paris region.

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The highly-anticipated Olympic Games in Paris begin on July 26. The Paralympics are scheduled for Aug. 28 and end on Sept. 8.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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