Clashes broke out between police and protesters in Paris on Tuesday
after around 20,000 people defied a ban to rally over the 2016 death of a
black man in police custody, galvanised by US demonstrations against
racism and deadly police violence. The protesters used
slogans from the American protest movement to call
for justice for Adama Traore, whose death four years ago has been a
rallying cause against police brutality in France.
The demonstration, which came after the release of two different medical
reports into the cause of Traore’s death, had been prohibited by police
citing a coronavirus ban on gatherings of more than 10 people.
The protest started in the late afternoon outside the court in northern
Paris, before projectiles were thrown and the police used tear gas to
disperse the crowd, AFP journalists witnessed.
Sporadic clashes broke out near the city’s main ring road, with stones
thrown at the police, who responded by firing rubber bullets.
Some protesters burned bins, bicycles and scooters to set up flaming barricades on the streets.
Interior Minister Christophe Castaner responded by saying that “violence has no place in a democracy”.
“Nothing justifies the behaviour that took place in Paris this evening
when protests on public streets are banned to protect everyone’s
health,” he tweeted.
Many of the protesters drew inspiration from the protest movement raging
across the United States over the police killing last week of George
Floyd, an unarmed black man, holding up slogans in English such as
“Black Lives Matter” and “I can’t breathe”.
Earlier in the day Traore’s elder sister Assa spoke to the large crowd.
“Today we are not just talking about the fight of the Traore family. It
is the fight for everyone. When we fight for George Floyd, we fight for
Adama Traore,” she said.
“What is happening in the United States is an echo of what is happening in France.”
Other protests were held across France, with 2,500 people attending a
rally in the northern city of Lille, 1,800 in Marseille, and 1,200 in