Paris, France
Paris, FranceFlash 90

The French police have received a heavy barrage of criticism for allowing neo-Nazis to openly stage a march through Paris on Saturday.

The rally by extreme nationalists commemorated the 29th anniversary of the death of far-right activist Sébastien Deyzieu, who died while running from the police, Le Parisien reported.

While fleeing law enforcement in May 1994, Deyzieu fell from a roof in Paris’s 6th arrondissement while an anti-American demonstration was going on that had been banned by police.

According to police, around 550 activists showed up at the march in Paris.

The mainly male protesters worse masks and dressed in black. They carried black flags with Celtic crosses on them and red smoke bombs. They also chanted far-right slogans.

The rally was authorized by the Paris police chief, which drew heavy criticism, according to Le Parisien.

Police were spotted patrolling near the march, AFP reported.

Socialist Party Senator David Assouline slammed the rally, demanding that Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin offer an explanation.

"It's unacceptable to have allowed 500 neo-Nazis and fascists to parade in the heart of Paris,” he tweeted. “Their organizations, the display of their ideology, slogans, insignias are as much an insult to the dead as an incitement to racial hatred.”

Paris police responded to criticism on Monday, stating that they did not have the legal authority to prevent the demonstration unless it was proven to be a “risk to public order.”

"Given that this demonstration had not caused any problems or public order issues during previous years, the Paris prefect was not in a position to take steps to ban it," the department said in a statement.