French police fired tear gas after receiving a few projectiles during a Saturday afternoon rally in Paris against racism and police violence, as part of a mobilization in all major cities in France.
The police, who blocked most of the streets leading to the Place de la République, where several thousand people had gathered, charged, causing part of the crowd to ebb, found an AFP journalist.
The demonstrators had planned to march to the Place de l’Opéra, but the parade, not authorized by the prefecture, did not take place, the police having prevented them from leaving the Place de la République.
On Twitter, the police headquarters called “the protesters to remain calm” and asked them to “disperse because of the disturbances of public order caused by certain people”.
The rally took place on the initiative of the Adama Traoré committee, named after a young black man who died in July 2016 after being apprehended by gendarmes in the Paris region.
His sister Assa Traoré, a figurehead of the committee, had called to march to “denounce the denial of justice, to denounce social, racial, police violence”, again demanding the indictment of the members of the police forces involved in the arrest of his brother.
“The death of George Floyd – the African American who was killed on May 25 in Minneapolis by a white police officer – directly echoed the death of my brother. It’s the same in France, our brothers die […] “She said, promising to” continue the fight “for justice.
In the crowd, many young people wore black T-shirts flocked with the request carried for four years by the Traoré family: “Justice for Adama”. Signs read: “In the country of human rights, the police kill, we want the videos” or “until we have justice, you will not have peace”.
On June 2, the Adama committee succeeded in mobilizing 20,000 people in the French capital, standing out as the spearhead in the fight against police violence. His discourse has broadened, from the denunciation of police violence to that of “systemic racism”, finding a strong resonance after the death of George Floyd, which sparked a wave of global indignation.
In a statement released on Saturday, Amnesty International called for “a systemic reform of police practices” in France. “The gravity of the situation requires a comprehensive response from the authorities”, wrote this NGO, welcoming “the abandonment of the technique [d’interpellation] of strangulation “, announced on Monday by Interior Minister Christophe Castaner.
Parades were also planned in all the other big cities of France, against a background of anger in the police and on the eve of an address by President Emmanuel Macron.
Demonstrations were to take place in Marseille, Lyon, Montpellier, Nantes, Saint-Nazaire, Bordeaux, as well as in Strasbourg on Sunday.
Racism is “a disease that affects all of society,” said Emmanuel Macron in the Council of Ministers on Wednesday.