Protesters will reportedly gather in Istanbul on Sunday, November 1, to condemn French Prime Minister Emmanuel Macron's recent vow to fight 'Islamist separatism'. Participants will gather at Sarachane Park at 15:00 before marching to the French Consulate. The event is likely to be well attended. Although the protest is expected to pass off peacefully, a heightened security presence and localized travel disruptions should be anticipated in the vicinity of the demonstration.
Tensions over the response of the French government to recent Islamist attacks and terrorism in the country have been increasing since the murder of teacher Samuel Paty by an alleged Islamist extremist in the northern Paris suburb of Conflans-Sainte-Honorine on October 16. The attack prompted an outpouring of support in France and a strong response from the government which saw dozens arrested and several organizations and mosques closed in a widespread crackdown on alleged Islamic extremism. However, comments from President Emmanuel Macron regarding religious rights and freedom of expression and the display of controversial cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad at solidarity rallies following the attack have since prompted accusations of Islamophobia from several Muslim political and religious leaders around the world.
Dozens of protests over the crackdown and French government policies have since been held outside French embassies and consulates in multiple countries over the last week, including Turkey, Bangladesh, Iran, Mali, Mauritania, Libya, Pakistan, and Indonesia, some of which have drawn thousands of participants. There have also been widespread calls for a boycott of French goods, particularly foodstuffs, in Muslim-majority countries, with the protest being supported by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and several other Muslim leaders.
Those in Istanbul are advised to monitor the situation, anticipate transportation disruptions, avoid the vicinity of the demonstrations as a precaution, and adhere to all instructions issued by local authorities.