As the war between Hamas and Israel intensifies in the Middle East, tensions are spilling over into Europe, where demonstrations and terrorist attacks are causing disruptions for locals and visitors alike.
Last week, monuments and government buildings across Europe were lit up in blue and white — a show of solidarity with Israel after the assault by Hamas on Oct. 7 that killed at least 1,400 Israeli civilians. Within days, tens of thousands of pro-Palestinian protesters were marching across European cities to protest the Israeli bombardment of Gaza that followed. A deadly explosion at a hospital in Gaza on Tuesday, which left Palestinians and Israelis trading blame, has threatened further unrest.
Local authorities have ramped up security as clashes erupted over the weekend in London, Paris, Madrid and Rome. In France, security threats have forced the evacuation of sites like the Louvre Museum, along with several airports.
Security experts say that while it is still broadly safe to travel to Europe, it is important to be aware of demonstrations and show vigilance toward any perceived threat.
Here’s what to know about the disruptions.
Where are people protesting?
Since Oct. 13, when a former Hamas leader declared “a day of rage,” tens of thousands of people across Europe have gathered to call for an end to Israeli military action in Gaza, prompting some countries like France and Germany to ban pro-Palestinian demonstrations. One of the biggest protests was held in London, where clashes with police led to the arrest of 15 people. Another pro-Palestinian demonstration is planned for noon on Saturday at London’s Marble Arch.
In Paris, a pro-Palestinian protest is planned for 6 p.m. on Thursday at the Place de la République in defiance of the ban, which was upheld by a French court on Wednesday, with instructions for local authorities to evaluate individual cases for security risks. Further rallies in support of Palestinians are likely across Europe through late October, according to Crisis24, a security risk and crisis management consultancy group.
Following the hospital blast in Gaza late Tuesday, protesters in Istanbul stormed the Israeli Consulate, throwing fireworks toward the building and burning Israeli flags. In the city of Malatya, in east-central Turkey, a group of demonstrators tried to enter an American military base. And on Wednesday, protesters gathered outside the U.S. Consulate in Istanbul, demanding its closure.
The U.S. Embassy in Ankara…