"We want to work, we remain open," the protesters who gathered outside the Marseille commercial court are shouting.
Earlier in the week, the government put Marseille, along with the French overseas department of Guadeloupe, on the "red zone" list of highly infected areas of the country. French Health Minister Olivier Veran has ordered bars and restaurants in both areas to close starting Saturday for two weeks.
On Thursday, the city authorities appealed to the government to delay the introduction of new coronavirus measures for 10 days to see if the epidemic would slow down.
France has seen a sharp increase in COVID-19 infections, with the most recent daily record high of 16,096 cases confirmed on Thursday. Some restrictive measures, including the mandatory wearing of face masks while outdoors and in shared spaces, have been in effect since August.
To date, France has detected 536,289 coronavirus infections and 31,524 related deaths.