“No justice, no peace,” the crowd chanted, echoing the protests which have taken place across the United States following the death of unarmed African American George Floyd in the hands of police.
The marchers also brandished placards, some in English, bearing slogans now familiar in the US protests: “Black lives matter”, “I can't breathe,” and “Stop police violence”.
The mainly young crowd in Lille marched to the city centre, also calling for “justice for Adama”.
Protests took place across France on Tuesday evening in the name of Adama Traore – a young black man who died in French police custody in 2016.
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Many protesters in Lille carried banners in English mirroring the protests that swept across the USA. Photo: AFP
On Thursday police in Lille fired tear gas to disperse the protesters but flashpoint incidents continued as night fell.
“Today people feel stigmatised, ostracised by the Republic and these people… demand above all to be integrated, recognised, treated like everyone else,” one of the marchers, 32-year-old Sofian Betrancourt, told AFP.
“The question of police violence has been on the table for many years, but at the same time this inequality is displayed on a global basis,” he added.
The Paris protest on Tuesday attracted more than 20,000 people, the majority of whom protested peacefully but there were flashpoints at the end of the protest as people throw things at police and set fire to street furniture.