Paris (AFP)

The shock wave caused by the death of George Floyd in the United States continued to spread on Saturday in France where several thousand demonstrators denounced the police violence and demanded "justice for all".

Closely monitored by the authorities, anti-racist rallies in Paris, Bordeaux, Lyon, Lille or Marseille paid tribute to this African-American who died in the hands of the police, and castigated the "racism" and "impunity" which would reign at home. the police in France.

"Racist comments all my life I've had," said Nadine, 46, an insurance executive. "It's our life, being black French in France, it's not easy".

In Bordeaux, at least 2,500 people marched behind banners denouncing a "racist police", before observing, kneeling and for some with their fists raised, a long minute of silence.

A second rally brought together a few hundred people who listened to the names of victims of police violence.

"I don't want my daughter to grow up in a society where human lives are not all of equal value," said Caroline Fache, Franco-American.

In Lyon, several thousand people gathered in the city center while in Nice 2,500 people knelt on Place Massena, at the foot of the statue of Apollo, in memory of George Floyd.

"France is drowning in its racism. We denounce the police violence and the denial of silence of the institutions", assured Lyon Arkya Sedime, member of the collective of Afro-descendants.

In Rennes, the participants formed a body around Awa Gueye, the sister of Babacar Gueye, shot dead during a police intervention in Rennes in 2015.

"34 years ago, I was a student and I was already demonstrating to denounce the death of Malik Oussekine. Nothing has changed," said Nathalie Aubré-Connan.

In Marseille, several thousand people set off from the Old Port around 7:00 p.m. to go up part of the Canebière. "There is no longer any presumption of innocence. We qualify people in advance on their physique," said Ouiam el-Hamdani, a law student in Marseille.

More modest gatherings were held in Nancy, Béziers or Limoges and actions had already taken place the day before in Strasbourg and Clermont-Ferrand.

Almost all of them took place in calm even if incidents broke out at the end of the demonstration in Metz when the prosecutor was slightly injured in the nose by the jet of a pebble.

- "Fracture" in society -

Objects of recurrent polemics in recent years, the accusations of police violence coupled with those of racism had already found a new echo Tuesday evening in Paris.

At least 20,000 people responded to the call from the family of Adama Traoré, who died in 2016 after his arrest in the Val-d'Oise, sealing an unprecedented mobilization.

Put under pressure, the government refuted the existence of any "structural racism" within the police force but ended up admitting the existence of a "certain uneasiness".

On the front line, Interior Minister Christophe Castaner has promised to be "uncompromising" in the face of any tangible sign of racism among the police.

Friday, he seized justice after the revelation of the existence of a private group on Facebook reserved for the police and where racist messages are exchanged. The Paris prosecutor's office has opened an investigation.

On the right, this electric climate raises fears of a worsening of the "fracture" and the rise of an "anti-cop hatred", according to the president of the LR group in the Assembly, Damien Abad.

Jean-Luc Mélenchon, leader of the Insoumis, pointed the finger at the executive. "The root of all of this is political power which is in the hands of the police unions who do what they want," he said.

Deploring a "massive silence", SOS Racisme asked the government "to open - finally - the site of the fight against racism within the police."

burs-jt / cbn

© 2020 AFP