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Demonstrators protest bomb attack on theater

PARIS -- Some 6,000 demonstrators, led by France's political, literary and cinema elite, marched through the center of Paris Sunday to protest a bomb attack on a movie theater presenting a Jewish film festival.

The demonstrators gathered silently in front of the gutted Rivoli Beaubourg cinema, where the Friday night blast injured 18 people. The crowd then marched several hundred yards to a Jewish memorial near City Hall.

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Political luminaries of both the ruling Socialist Party and the conservative opposition were among the protesters. French film stars Yves Montand and Simone Signoret took part, as did several writers and artists and Israeli Ambassador Ovadia Safer.

'We have to demonstrate to make it known that people are reacting with indignation and are not indifferent,' Signoret said.

Montand, shown in recent opinion polls to be one of France's most popular public figures, said the demonstration showed 'everyone is concerned in contrast with the 1930s. Even the clergy and certain opposition politicians.'

The festival resumed Saturday at another Paris theater. Present at the showing were President Francois Mitterrand's wife, Danielle, and Simone Veil, the former president of the European Parliament who was an inmate of a Nazi concentration camp.

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Two neo-Nazi groups claimed responsibility for the attack in anonymous calls to Paris news media Saturday, but police said they doubted the authenticity of the claims.

Police said it was also impossible to verify similar claims made by the shadowy pro-Iranian group Islamic Jihad, or Holy War, which has staged several bloody attacks against Western interests in Lebanon.

Festival organizers said they had received a telephone call and a letter prior to the opening of the event last week, threatening to 'blow everything up.'

The blast was the third serious anti-Jewish attack in Paris in recent years.

Four people were killed and nine were wounded in the October 1980 bombing of a Paris synagogue. In August 1982, gunmen hurled a hand grenade into a Jewish restaurant and sprayed patrons with machine gun fire, killing six and injuring 22.

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