Signs marking Paris' Ben-Gurion promenade missing
According to newspaper Le Figaro, Paris mayor, who inaugurated esplanade along Seine in honor of first Israeli prime minister, files complaint with police over theft, taking action to replace missing signs. Anti-Israel group calls Ben Gurion 'war criminal,' publishes online video showing place plaque used to be
Just a week after the esplanade on the banks of the Seine is renamed after Israel's first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, the plaques unveiled in a ceremony in the presence of Paris' mayor and President Shimon Peres have gone missing, according to local residents, the newspaper Le Figaro reported on Thursday.
Last week's inauguration ceremony was overshadowed by pro-Palestinian protests.
Paris police confirmed that the signs were missing and that Paris Mayor Bertrand Delanoe filed a complaint. "The disappearance of the signs with Ben Gurion's name was noticed on Wednesday," confirmed the police department.
Palestinian flag above the Arc de Triomphe in Paris (Photo: Reuven Garron)
"The mayor decided to file a complaint," said Laurent Fary, Delanoe's spokesperson. "Three signs were removed. City teams will work tonight to replace them immediately."
According to the report, an anti-Israel group, which did not identify itself by name, uploaded a video to the internet showing one of the bare posts where one of the plaques was once affixed. In a statement issued along with the video clip it was written, "On Wednesday morning, the three signs affixed by the mayor of Paris in honor of the war criminal Ben Gurion disappeared from the promenade!"
However, it remains unclear whether the group that published the video clip takes responsibility for removing the plaques.
Opposition: Not without Arafat
Hundreds of people protested against Israel during last week's unveiling ceremony of the plaques. They carried Palestinian flags and accused Delanoe of collaborating with "the Israeli murderers."
The protesters denounced Israel and claimed that the Netanyahu administration is continuing a policy of killing and expropriation. A few protesters climbed the Arc de Triomphe and hung a Palestinian flag atop it.
Opposition figures in the Paris city council expressed their objection to naming the esplanade after Ben Gurion without naming any site in the city after Yassir Arafat.