Paris: A massive rally was held in the heart of the French capital to express solidarity with the thousands of migrants and refugees arriving in Europe each day, and to urge the European Union (EU) to take action, France 24 reported.
Around 8,500 people participated in the demonstration in the Place de la République in Paris, 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 also held in other towns and cities across France, with around 10,000 people demonstrating in total.
The crowd at Place de la République was a demonstration of the shock many French people felt this week at the widely publicized 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 EU.
French President Francois 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 EU this year alone, with the 28-nation bloc showing little of a coordinated response to the crisis.