French police fight running battles with anti-racism campaigners banned from Paris march as Black Lives Matter protests grip Europe

  • The march is in memory of Adama Traoré, a 24-year-old black Frenchman who died in police custody in 2016
  • Protests paying tribute to George Floyd have been seen across Europe including in Prague, Czech Republic 
  • Tear gas and baton charges were used by police as they came under attack around the Place de la Republique 

Police fought running battles with anti-racism campaigners in Paris today after thousands turned up for a banned march, as Black Lives Matter protests grip Europe. 

Tear gas and baton charges were used by police as they came under attack around the Place de la Republique, one of the French capital’s most famous protest squares.

Protests paying tribute to George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died during an arrest on May 25, have been seen across Europe today including in Prague, Czech Republic, Lausanne, Switzerland and Breda, the Netherlands.

A vast crowd had hoped to march in memory of Adama Traoré in Paris, a 24-year-old black Frenchman of Malian origin who died police custody in July 2016. 

Family and friends said he died of asphyxiation, in the manner of George Floyd, the American said to have been murdered by police in Minneapolis, Minnesota, last month.

But Didier Lallement, the Paris police prefect, pledged that the French demonstration would not go ahead because of Coronavirus restrictions on public demonstrations.

Police fought running battles with anti-racism campaigners in Paris today after thousands turned up for a banned march. Pictured: An injured demonstrator is helped away as people gather during a rally

Tear gas and baton charges were used by police as they came under attack around the Place de la Republique, one of the French capital’s most famous protest squares. Pictured: French riot police throw tear gas canisters at people gathered during the rally

A vast crowd had hoped to march in memory of Adama Traoré, a 24-year-old black Frenchman of Malian origin who died police custody in July 2016. Pictured: An injured demonstrator is helped away as people gather during the rally

Protesters raise their fists during a demonstration against police brutality and racism in Paris, France, today. The march is organised by supporters of Assa Traore’s brother Adama Traore

Some 3000 Traore supporters including his sister, Assa Traoré, turned up anyway, chanting ‘Justice for Adama’ today as crowds gathered across Europe

Members of far right group Generation Identitaire (GI) gesture after deploying a banner, cut by residents who tried to remove it, and reading ‘victims of anti-white racism’

A French riot police officer is helped away as people gather during a rally as part of the ‘Black Lives Matter’ worldwide protests against racism and police brutality, on Place de la Republique in Paris

People hold hands by a sign reading’ Without Justice, no Peace’ during a rally as part of the ‘Black Lives Matter’ worldwide protests against racism and police brutality

Protesters raise their fists during a rally as part of the ‘Black Lives Matter’ worldwide protests against racism and police brutality

A French riot police officer is helped away as people gather during the rally as smoke canisters are released in the background

People raise their fists during a rally as part of the ‘Black Lives Matter’ worldwide protests against racism and police brutality, on Place de la Republique in Paris

People protest against racism and pay tribute to George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died during an arrest on May 25, during a demonstration in front of the US embassy in Prague

People hold up signs and demonstrate against racism in Lausanne, Switzerland, today in light of the recent death of George Floyd

Protesters take part in a demonstration against racism at the Chasseveld in Breda, the Netherlands today while wearing face masks and holding signs

Assa Traore, sister of Adama Traore takes part in the rally. She says people should show their anger ‘at a time when the world, when France is outraged by the death of George Floyd’

He also said feared disturbances, and later added that police in the Paris regions were ‘neither violent nor racist’.

Some 3000 Traore supporters including his sister, Assa Traoré, turned up anyway, chanting ‘Justice for Adama’.

Ms Traoré said people should show their anger ‘at a time when the world, when France is outraged by the death of George Floyd’.

By 4pm, projectiles including stones were being thrown at the police, who began to make arrests.

Among those held were 12 far-Right counter demonstrators who unfurled a banner complaining about ‘anti-white racism’ from a rooftop on place de la Republique.

Mr Traore had run away from a police check in Beaumont-sur-Oise, a town north of Paris, and hours later died at a nearby police station.

The vague circumstances of the incident have led to allegations of a state cover-up, and his family have been fighting for justice ever since.

French police officers throw smoke canisters outside a Metro station in Paris as officers in riot gear line up behind  

People protest during a solidarity rally against police and racial violence in the United States, in Prague, Czech Republic

Ms Traoré said people should show their anger ‘at a time when the world, when France is outraged by the death of George Floyd’

A demonstrator wears a mask reading ‘I can’t breathe’, George Floyd’s dying words, at the protest in Prague, Czech Republic

People protest against racism and pay tribute to George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died during an arrest on May 25, during a demonstration in front of the US embassy in Prague

People demonstrate against racism during a protest in Lausanne, Switzerland, today as part of the worldwide protest prompted by the death last month of George Floyd

Assa Traore, sister of Adama Traore takes part in the Paris rally as part of the ‘Black Lives Matter’ worldwide protests

They say he died from asphyxiation caused by officers, while police claim Mr Traore died from a heart attack due to pre-existing medical condition.

There are frequent complaints about racist violence carried out by the French police, particularly in incidents involving young black men, or those from Arab backgrounds.

In 2017 four officers were accused of anally violating a 22-year-old called Theo Luhaka with a telescopic truncheon, causing him lifelong injuries, in the Paris suburb of Aulnay-sous-Bois.

It comes as police also face criminal charges for a series of allegedly racist attacks as they enforced curfews and other tough law and order measures during the Coronavirus crisis.

Prosecutors opened an enquiry in April after a 30-year-old motorcyclist from an Arab Muslim background was critically injured following a collision with an unmarked police car in Villeneuve-la-Garenne, which is less than 10 miles from central Paris.

Awa Gueye, the sister of Babacar Gueye who died in 2015, raises her fist during a rally as part of the ‘Black Lives Matter’ worldwide protests against racism and police brutality on Place de la Republique in Paris

Among those held in Paris were 12 far-Right counter demonstrators who unfurled a banner complaining about ‘anti-white racism’ from a rooftop on place de la Republique. Pictured: Demonstrators raise their fists during a protest against police brutality

Mr Traore had run away from a police check in Beaumont-sur-Oise, a town north of Paris, and hours later died at a nearby police station

French riot police forces firing tear gas during a rally as part of the ‘Black Lives Matter’ worldwide protests against racism and police brutality, on Place de la Republique in Paris

This led to emergency workers including police becoming the target of rioters, who threw rocks and fireworks.

Earlier in the month, prosecutors in Béziers, in the south of France, announced that officers were facing criminal charges after a father-of-three died while under arrest for breaching the Coronavirus lockdown.

Three officers were videoed dragging Mohamed Gabsi, 33, along the ground during a curfew.

They are suspected of ‘intentional violence by a public official leading to manslaughter’ and ‘non assistance of a person in danger’.

The offences come with a potential combined prison sentence of 15 years plus, said local prosecutors.

The case is particularly sensitive because Mr Gabsi was a Muslim, and Béziers is run by a far-Right mayor who is supported by the National Rally party, which used to be called the National Front.

Source: Read Full Article