Thousands gather across France to denounce police brutality and racism

On Friday, the French Interior Minister, Gérald Darmanin, sent a letter of support to the police and gendarmes. He also sent a telegram to local officials, calling on them to “exercise particular vigilance regarding these gatherings.”

Saturday saw thousands take to the streets in several French cities to protest against police violence and institutional racism.  National authorities say they recorded over 31,000 participants, organisers say over 80, 000. 


The nationwide demonstrations come three months after a police officer killed a 17-year-old boy. His death triggered a wave of riots across the country.

In Paris, the procession of several thousand people set off from the Gare du Nord station in the northeast of the capital at around 3:00 p.m.

Before the procession set off, the crowd gathered on Boulevard Magenta chanted “Police everywhere, justice nowhere”, “No justice, no peace” and “Justice for Nahel”.

Demonstrators of all ages held up placards reading “Stop state violence”, “No forgetting, no forgiveness” and “Racist state, police state”.

The Interior Ministry mobilised 30,000 police officers and gendarmes throughout France on Saturday, including 6,000 to support Pope Francis’ visit to Marseille.

According to the Paris police spokesperson, Laurent Nuñez, “Just over 1,000 police officers were mobilised for the Paris demonstration.”

In other towns, demonstrators took to the streets in the late morning, as in Perpignan, where the organisers’ slogan “against systemic racism, police violence and for public freedoms” drew around 150 people.  According to the Toulouse prefecture, some 600 people participated in the march.

The national mobilisation has also received the support of 150 film personalities, including Palme d’Or 2023 director Justine Triet, actors Reda Kateb and Benoît Magimel, and producer Sylvie Pialat.


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