Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

IN THE PAPERS

'Why do French people smoke so much?'

Read more

EYE ON AFRICA

Kenya’s opposition leader to take poll dispute to Supreme Court

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Trump's 'unprecedented transgression'

Read more

THE DEBATE

US racial tension - How far should freedom of speech be allowed to go?

Read more

THE DEBATE

Burkina Faso attack: How to restore security in the Sahel region?

Read more

THE DEBATE

India and Pakistan mark 70 years of independence: Can the two countries ever reconcile?

Read more

ACCESS ASIA

India: Cows at heart of political debate

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Trump again blames both sides for Charlottesville violence

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

'Macron: The shadow of a doubt'

Read more

Europe

In pictures: Thousands show support for migrants at Paris rally

© François Guillot, AFP | Thousands protested in support of migrants at Paris’s historic Place de la République on September 5, 2015

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2015-09-06

A rally was held in the heart of the French capital Saturday to express solidarity with the thousands of migrants and refugees arriving in Europe each day, and to urge the European Union to take action.

Around 8,500 people took part in the demonstration in Paris's Place de la République, according to police figures, with many waving Syrian flags.

"We are all descendants of immigrants,” one placard said, as the crowd chanted, “Open the borders!”

Smaller rallies were held in other towns and cities across France, with around 10,000 people demonstrating in total.

French public opinion has been divided over how to handle the growing number of asylum-seekers, amidst a rise in support for the anti-immigration National Front party and high unemployment.

European action?

But the crowd at Place de la République - the same square where tens of thousands gathered after the deadly terrorist attack on Charlie Hebdo magazine in January - was a demonstration of the shock many French people felt this week at the widely publicised photo of the drowned Syrian toddler washed up on a Turkish beach.

On Thursday, France and Germany agreed to propose a permanent and mandatory system to take in refugees and asylum seekers, especially Syrians, in the European Union.

French President François Hollande said following the announcement, “These men and women, with their families, are fleeing war and persecution. They need international protection.”

According to the latest figures, about 350,000 refugees and migrants have reached the border of the European Union this year alone, with the 28-nation bloc showing little of a co-ordinated response to the crisis.

Syrians fleeing a brutal civil conflict are the largest group of refugees, followed by Afghans and Eritreans.

(FRANCE 24 with AP, AFP, REUTERS)

Date created : 2015-09-05

  • GERMANY - AUSTRIA

    Thousands of exhausted migrants reach Austria, Germany

    Read more

  • THE JOURNEY TO EXILE

    On the migrant trial: ‘I will walk to Germany’

    Read more

  • HUNGARY

    Refugees begin walking to Austria from Budapest

    Read more

COMMENT(S)