| 14 April 2024, Sunday |

Fresh protests against police violence planned in France

Seven years after Adama Traore, a young black man, died in police custody, his sister intended to lead a memorial march in Persan and Beaumont-sur-Oise, north of Paris.

However, with tensions still high following the police shooting of 17-year-old Nahel, of Algerian ancestry, at a traffic stop last week, a court concluded that the march would cause too much public disruption.

In a video posted on Twitter, Assa Traore, Adama’s older sister, confirmed that following the court order “there will be no march in Beaumont-sur-Oise”.

“The government has decided to add fuel to the fire” and “not to respect the death of my little brother”, she said in the video.


Instead of the planned event, she said she would attend a rally on Saturday afternoon in central Paris’ Place de la Republique to tell “the whole world that our dead have the right to exist, even in death”.

However, this “march for justice” will also be banned, according to the Paris police headquarters.

Around 30 similar demonstrations against police violence are planned across France this weekend, according to an online map, including in the cities of Lille, Marseille, Nantes and Strasbourg.


Grief and anger

Several trade unions, political parties and associations had called on supporters to join the memorial march for Traore this year as France reels from allegations of institutionalised racism in its police ranks following the police shooting of Nahel M.

Traore, who was 24 years old, died shortly after his arrest in 2016, sparking several nights of unrest that played out similarly to the week-long rioting that erupted across the country in the wake of the point-blank shooting of Nahel during a traffic stop.

The teenager’s death on June 27 rekindled long-standing accusations of systemic racism among security forces, and a UN committee has called on France to ban racial profiling.


But far-right parties have linked the most intense and widespread riots seen in the country since 2005 to mass migration, and have demanded curbs on new arrivals.

Campaign groups say Saturday’s “citizens marches” will be an opportunity for people to express their “grief and anger” at discriminatory police policies, especially in working-class neighbourhoods.

They are urging reforms to the police, including policing tactics and the force’s weaponry.

Government spokesman Olivier Veran criticised the organisations for convening demonstrations “in major cities that have not yet recovered from the rampages”.

More than 3,700 people have been taken into police custody in connection with the protests since Nahel’s death, including at least 1,160 minors, according to official figures.


  • AFP