PARIS — As people in Paris celebrated a day of anti-discrimination and diversity on Sunday, a new rally in the French capital seemed to draw on the same sentiment.
Organizers said the rally was intended to show that France is far from a racist country and to encourage people to reject xenophobia.
“We believe that the Paris rally will help us to build an inclusive society,” organizer Niki Zoudou said, according to the local Le Parisien newspaper.
The rally was organized by the Paris chapter of the far-right French National Front.
It was a far cry from the more than a dozen rallies across France that were supposed to take place on Sunday.
In some of the more conservative districts of Paris, police have warned people not to join the anti-immigrant rally.
But a rally by the far right, the National Front, in the same suburb of the French city of Le Havre, drew some 200 people.
Some protesters had their faces covered and chanted anti-Muslim slogans.
One protester, who identified herself as a student and said she is “from the north,” told Le Parisian newspaper that her mother is from a Muslim country.
“It’s time to wake up.
We need a better future for our children,” she said.
A rally organized by anti-racism group, BNP, was planned for Sunday evening in the southern town of Seine-Saint-Denis.
But organizers said they would hold a separate rally in Paris.
“This rally is aimed at countering racism,” the group said in a statement.
“This is not a celebration of the racism but an affirmation of its defeat.
We must reject racism, xenophobia and racism in all its forms and manifestations.”
Some of the organizers said that despite the ban, the event would not have been banned had the organizers not been aware of it.