Several thousand demonstrators gathered in different major cities of France to protest the government policies, and brutality of security forces as many people told how their relatives have died at hands of the police.

Protestors hold a banner reading
Protestors hold a banner reading "Stop state crimes" during a protest against racism organized by associations, unions and parties, in Paris, on March 19, 2022. (AFP)

Thousands of people in several French cities have marched to protest racism and police brutality.

In Paris, protesters paraded on Saturday through the city centre behind a banner condemning "state crimes". Other demonstrators carried "Black Lives Matter" banners.

Several people spoke at the rally to tell the stories of members of their families who had died at the hands of the police.

Interior ministry figures put the turnout out at 2,100, but the march organisers estimated 8,000-10,000.

The interior ministry said another 11 protests took place elsewhere in France, saying the total turnout for these protests was 1,400.

Other protests took place in Bordeaux and Toulouse in the southwest, and Lyon in the southeast.

Saturday's demonstration comes two days ahead of International Day for the Elimination of Racism.

It is held on March 21 to mark the day, in 1960, that police in apartheid South Africa opened fire on a peaceful demonstration, killing 69 people.

READ MORE: Anti-Muslim policies in France reach ‘threshold of persecution’

French presidential race

French President Emmanuel Macron has laid out an ambitious agend for his second term in the hope that he is re-elected in polls that will be held in April.

Macron was the highest decision maker to deal with the Yellow Vest protests, demanding new financial regulations in the country to make the nation's life easier. 

When pressed by a reporter on a comment he made in 2019 that NATO is “brain dead,” Macron said it was true at the time — and was quite unapologetic for it — but that the Ukraine war had "applied an electroshock" to NATO, which meant that it was "no longer brain dead" but now indispensable for dealing with Russia's war on its sovereign neighbor.

Macron’s full agenda included 100 measures, or “projects” as he called them, chief among them strengthening the reforms in the business laid out in 2017, those that would now address the post-pandemic high unemployment.

He also discussed introducing 15 billion euros ($16.6 billion) in tax cuts for businesses and households.

READ MORE: Macron to seek second term to save France from 'world's disorders'

Source: AFP