Paris riot police fought running battles against violent anti-racism protesters.
An estimated 15,000 anti-racist protesters turned out for a Black Lives Matter protest in Paris yesterday, where clashes between police and small pockets of violent demonstrators saw tear gas being fired into crowds, the violence erupted three hours into a peaceful demonstration against police brutality yesterday in the French capital.
The rally is part is a worldwide movement inspired by America’s Black Lives Matter protests and was organised under the banner ‘Justice for Adama,’ after Adama Traoré, a young black man who died in French police custody in 2016.
Protesters gathered on the Place de la République in central Paris early on Saturday afternoon. They chanted slogans such as “No justice, no peace.” Some climbed on the statue of Marianne, the symbol of the French Republic. Some fireworks were also directed at police.
Among the protesters was Assa Traoré, Adama’s sister, who called on them to “denounce social, racial, police violence.”
“What’s happening in the United States is happening in France. Our brothers are dying,” she added. Although the protesters were allowed to gather, they were prevented by police from marching to the Opera area as a ban on the march was in place due to worries from damage to local businesses.
In the wake of these recent protests, President Emmanuel Macron’s government is now prohibiting the use of the chokehold – the restraint of suspects by grabbing or holding them by the throat. However, Paris police chief Didier Lallement has rejected charges of racism against his force.