France’s Long March Against Racism

In 1983 the March for Equality and Against Racism from Marseille to Paris marked the coming of age of a new French generation.

The March for Equality and Against Racism in Mulhouse, Alsace, November 1983. Getty Images.

It is 40 years this December since the ‘March for Equality and Against Racism’ – better known as the ‘la marche des beurs’ – arrived in Paris. Having set out from Marseille on 15 October, the march was met in the French capital by president François Mitterrand on 6 December 1983. Over the course of six weeks it had grown from a small group of 15 into a huge national event which would come to represent the entry of young people from immigrant backgrounds into French civic and political life. Some 100,000 people were in attendance at its final demonstration in Paris. It was – and remains – unprecedented in French history.

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