On Friday, the French Interior Minister, Gérald Darmanin, expressed his solidarity with the police and gendarmes by sending them a supportive letter. He also dispatched a telegram to local officials, urging them to exercise heightened vigilance during these gatherings.
On Saturday, thousands of individuals across several French cities took to the streets to voice their protests against police brutality and institutional racism. National authorities reported over 31,000 participants, while organizers claimed the number exceeded 80,000.
These nationwide demonstrations come three months after the death of a 17-year-old boy at the hands of a police officer, which ignited widespread riots throughout the country.
In Paris, a procession of several thousand people commenced around 3 pm from the Gare du Nord station in the northeast part of the capital. Before the march began, the crowd on Boulevard Magenta chanted slogans such as “Police everywhere, justice nowhere,” “No justice, no peace,” and “Justice for Nahel.”
Demonstrators of various ages displayed signs bearing messages like “Stop state violence,” “No forgetfulness, no forgiveness,” and “Racist state, police state.”
The Interior Ministry mobilized 30,000 police officers and gendarmes across France on Saturday, with 6,000 dedicated to supporting Pope Francis‘ visit to Marseille. According to Paris police spokesperson Laurent Nuñez, “just over 1,000 police officers were mobilized for the Paris demonstration.”
In other cities, protesters took to the streets in the late morning. In Perpignan, approximately 150 people gathered under the banner of “against systemic racism, police violence, and for public freedoms,” while around 600 individuals participated in the march, as reported by the Toulouse prefecture.
The national mobilization also garnered support from 150 cinema personalities, including director Justine Triet, who won the 2023 Palme d’Or, actors Reda Kateb and Benoît Magimel, and producer Sylvie Pialat.
Image: Getty Images