Around 20,000 people joined protests in France yesterday over the death of a black man in police custody in 2016, that has been likened to the killing of George Floyd in the USA.
Despite police orders not to demonstrate due to coronavirus restrictions, protestors assembled to demand justice for Adama Traore, 24, who died in a police station.
He was apprehended by police officers in the Paris suburbs, who slammed him to the ground with their full body weight, leading to Traoré subsequently losing consciousness in their vehicle.
However, the Paris police chief rejected that it was a racially motivated incident and last Thursday the officers involved were acquitted from any charges after an investigation.
Autopsy reports suggested that he died of heart failure and possibly from underlying health conditions.
At the time of his death in 2016, protests erupted across Paris with demonstrators burning cars and garbage cans.
The death of George Floyd and the recent exoneration for the officers who detained Traoré, incited a mass protest yesterday. Many hoisted placards and banners, with some saying “Black Lives Matter” and also Floyd's last words: “I can't breathe.”
“What’s happening in America shines a light on the situation here,” said Sydney indigenous woman Amanda Hill, 46, who attended the rally with her daughter and two nieces.
he protests were largely peaceful but it became violent with police using tear gas and firing rubber bullets to disperse the crowds.
Protestors also set burning trash cans, electric bikes, and barricades alight.
The protests against police brutality started at the Tribunal de Paris courthouse before police forces intervened. They stated that the crowds had dispersed by 10 pm local time.
The protests continued as small demonstrations across the French cities of Marseille, Lyon, and Lille.
Assa Traoré, who organised the protest, has been subject to intimidation and vilification, along with the rest of her family, for her ardent pursuit of of justice. She made a speech in the middle of the protest to demonstrators urging to continue fighting.
“Today we are not just talking about the fight of the Traoré family. It is the fight for everyone. When we fight for George Floyd, we fight for Adama Traoré,” his sister, Assa, told the protest.
Adama Traore’s family have blamed excessive force used during his arrest, but these calls have been dismissed.
Read more here.