Thousands of people gathered today in a hundred towns in France in a “unitary march” to denounce “systemic racism, police violence” and to demand “social justice and public freedoms”, amid a strong deployment of forces security, mainly in the capital Paris.
The mobilization denounced “a regressive policy that favors the extreme right.” This policy “increasingly tramples on our public freedoms, our social model, our future in the face of ecological collapse,” argued the various convening groups in a statement.
About 30,000 were expected to attend the demonstrations, called by left-wing organizations.
The Ministry of the Interior deployed between 130 and 150 mobile police units throughout France, which represents some 30,000 police and gendarmes, in addition to the work of the intelligence services, the Europa Press news agency reported.
During the march in Paris, a police officer took out his gun and pointed it at the crowd after the patrol car in which he was traveling was attacked with iron bars by a group of protesters after getting stuck in traffic.
Police sources cited by private news channel BFM TV said three police officers were injured, but the information was not officially confirmed.
Organizations such as Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, Family Planning and SOS Racism joined the mobilization.
It also received the support of La Francia Insumisa, the ultra-left party of presidential candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon, and the General Confederation of Workers (CGT), the Magistrates’ Union and several student organizations.
Police action has been in the spotlight in France for years and criticism resurfaces with force in each episode of violent protests or riots.
A month and a half ago, French authorities arrested five elite police officers for the death of a young man in July during a wave of protests that broke out in France after the death of a teenager in another case of police abuse.
The death of Nahel M., a 17-year-old teenager, by a police shot at point-blank range during a traffic stop on the outskirts of Paris on June 27 sparked more than a week of nightly riots in the country.
On the night of July 1, Mohamed Bendriss, 27, was riding his motorcycle through an area of Marseille where protests were taking place and was found dead in front of his mother’s house.
Everything indicated that it had been a car accident, but the autopsy showed that the young man had died from an impact on the chest from a “flash-ball” type projectile, compatible with a rubber bullet used by the French Police. .
The Police and Gendarmerie had carried out extensive deployment that day in Marseille to contain the escalation of protests resulting from Nahel’s death.