Thousands of marchers joined French lawmakers in Paris on Sunday to condemn a surge in anti-Semitism in France during the conflict in the Gaza Strip, but arguments over political participation clouded an intended show of unity.
The protest, called by the leaders of France's two houses of parliament, was prompted by a three-fold increase in the number of anti-Semitic incidents compared with the whole of 2022, according to French authorities, since the October 7 Hamas attack on Israel.
"Our order of the day today is... the total fight against anti-Semitism which is the opposite of the values of the republic," Senate speaker Gerard Larcher, who organised the demonstration with lower house speaker Yael Braun-Pivet, told broadcaster LCP before the marchers set off.
"A France where our Jewish citizens are afraid is not France," he wrote in a letter published in Saturday's Le Parisien.
Macron condemned the "confusion" surrounding the rally and said it was being "exploited" by some politicians for their own ends.
The hard-left France Unbowed (LFI) party boycotted the event which the far-right National Rally (RN) attended.
LFI leader Jean-Luc Melenchon rejected the march as a meeting of "friends of unconditional support for the massacre" of Palestinians in Gaza.
A separate rally against anti-Semitism that LFI organised in western Paris was disrupted on Sunday morning by counter-demonstrators.
Far-right leader Marine Le Pen – who also encountered protesters as she arrived – declared the march should also serve to stand against "Islamic fundamentalism", a pet theme of her anti-immigrant party.
The National Rally (RN) was known for decades as the National Front (FN), led by her father Jean-Marie Le Pen -- a convicted Holocaust denier.
Aiming to show the party has changed, "We are exactly where we should be" taking part in the march, Le Pen told reporters, calling any objections "petty political quibbles".
Communist leader Fabien Roussel said he would "not march alongside" the RN.
Other left-wing parties as well as youth and rights organisations marched behind a common banner separated from the far right.
Prime Minister Borne said Sunday, "There is no place for posturing" at the march, writing on X that "this is a vital battle for national cohesion".
Borne's own father survived the Nazi death camp Auschwitz in occupied Poland, only to take his own life when she was 11.
Among the long list of recent anti-Semitic acts, Paris prosecutors are investigating an incident on October 31, when buildings in the city and suburbs were daubed with dozens of Stars of David.
The graffiti, which brought back memories of the Nazi occupation of Paris during World War II and deportation of Jews to death camps, was widely condemned.
The march took place a day after several thousand people demonstrated in Paris under the rallying cry "Stop the massacre in Gaza".
The left-wing organisers called for France to "demand an immediate ceasefire" between Israel and Hamas militants.