Paris police unleash tear gas as rioters spark fires, hurl debris

Elias Hubbard
June 4, 2020

Several thousand people defied a coronavirus-related ban on protests to pay homage to George Floyd and Adama Traore, a French Black man who died in police custody.

The demonstration coincides with USA protests in response to the May 25 killing in Minneapolis of George Floyd, a 46-year-old African American who died after a white policeman pinned his neck under a knee for almost nine minutes.

The Traore case has become emblematic of the fight against police brutality in the country.

Numerous protesters drew inspiration from the protest movement in the United States over the police killing last week of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, brandishing viral slogans in English such as "Black Lives Matter" and "I can't breathe". While the whole affair is still under investigation, reports in the media indicated that Traore had been asphyxiated by officers as they struggled to restrain him. Although it started peacefully, several incidents and clashes with police were later reported.

Borrell told reporters that "like the people of the United States, we are shocked and appalled by the death of George Floyd".

DW's Paris correspondent Lisa Louis said the general feeling in France is that there has not been much change since the death of Traore.

Ndiaye said the government had every confidence the justice system would get to the bottom of what caused Traore's death, while urging "a very cautious approach to these issues". The procession was met by police, who fired tear gas into the crowd in a bid to disperse it.

Some protesters burned bins, bicycles and scooters to set up flaming barricades on the streets.

Earlier, thousands marched in Sydney, Australia's largest city, chanting "I can't breathe", and expressions of anger erupted in multiple languages on social networks, with thousands of Swedes joining an online protest and others speaking out under the banner of #BlackOutTuesday.

In France, family and friends of Adama Traore have called for gatherings in the evening in Paris and across the country.

The latter refers to the 2016 case of a 24-year-old black French national of Malian origin, Adama Traore.

Other protests drew some 2,500 people to the northern city of Lille, 1,800 in Marseille, and 1,200 in Lyon.

Adama Traore died after being apprehended by police following a 15-minute chase.

State investigators exonerated three police officers from an accusation of heavy-handedness in the arrest of Traore, saying that the 24-year old black died of a heart attack due to pre-existing medical condition. He was still handcuffed when paramedics arrived.

However, his family said he died from asphyxiation from police tactics.

Adding to the controversy, a new probe commissioned by the Traore family said on Tuesday his death was caused by the arrest technique used by the officers, a source said.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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