Masses protest in Paris against racism and police violence

In French cities, thousands of people have taken to the streets against racism and police violence. In Paris, at least 20,000 people defied the ban on assembly and took part in a demonstration.

The protests over the murder of George Floyd by US policemen are spreading worldwide. Tens of thousands also take to the streets in France against racist police violence.

Against racist police violence from Adama Traoré to George Floyd

The demonstrators combined the memory of George Floyd, who was murdered in the USA on May 25, with the protest against racist police violence in France. The demonstration in Paris was organized by Assa Traoré, the elder sister of Adama Traoré, who died in dubious circumstances in police custody in 2016. The police claimed that he died of a heart attack. Traoré's brother, however, said that he had seen Adama lying on the floor at the police station - surrounded by five or six police officers - with his hands tied behind his back. Accordingly, he stopped breathing and his face was covered with blood. He also saw one of the policemen wearing a white T-shirt soaked in blood. At that time, there had been riots in France after the alleged murder. Assa Traoré said in a speech: "Today, this is no longer just the Traoré family's struggle, it is all of us'. Today, when we fight for George Floyd, we fight for Adama Traoré.”

Activists defy ban on assembly

There was a ban on assembly in Paris on Tuesday. According to the prefecture, the ban was imposed because of the Coronavirus pandemic and out of concern about "imminent riots". Apparently the French state fears further riots because of the rampant racism. Fighting erupted when the police tried to break up the demonstration. The activists built up barricades and blocked the Paris motorway.

Human rights lawyers like Arié Alimi strongly condemned the police action and accused them of escalating the conflict by firing tear gas into the peaceful crowd.