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Protesters, surrounded by tear gas, face French riot mobile gendarmes in Paris.

Riot police fired tear gas on defiant protesters in Paris who were supporting Palestinians in the Gaza Strip despite a ban on Saturday's demonstration in the French capital.

Marches in support of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip were being held Saturday in a dozen French cities, but the focus was on Paris, where riot police got ready as organizers said they would defy a ban on the protest.

Paris police chief Didier Lallement ordered shops closed around the starting point of the planned march in a working-class neighbourhood in northern Paris after an administrative court confirmed the ban.

Authorities noted a banned July 2014 pro-Palestinian protest against an Israeli offensive in Gaza that degenerated into violence and running battles with police to justify the order against Saturday’s march.

Organizers said they intend to “denounce the latest Israeli aggressions” and mark the fleeing of Palestinians after Israel declared independence in 1948.

“Stop Annexation. Palestine Will Vanquish,” read one poster in a small crowd facing off with police, who blocked off the neighbourhood. Police said water cannons would be used against those who defy the Paris ban.

Protests were permitted in numerous other cities, including Lille in the north to Marseille on the Mediterranean Sea.