Conflicts & War

March in Paris to honor man who died in custody ends with arrests

Paris, Jul 8 (EFE).- Family, friends, and supporters of a black man who died in police custody in 2016 went forward here Saturday with a march in his memory despite the decision of French authorities to prohibit the demonstration in the wake of violent disturbances sparked by the fatal police shooting of a teenager.

Around 1,000 people gathered in the Place de la Republique with plans to march to Gare de l’Est train station in honor of Adama Traore, who was 24 when he died in police hands.

Originally set to take place in the Val-d’Oise, northwest of Paris, the demonstration was shifted to the capital after authorities banned it.

Hours before the march began, Paris police likewise denied permission, but with television crews present, the officers initially limited themselves to asking the crowd to disperse.

Participants listened to a speech from Assa Traore, Adama’s sister, who has mounted a campaign to demand prosecution of the three police officers the family accuses of having suffocated the young man in the course of detaining him seven years ago.

“We are marching for the young, to denounce police violence,” she said. “They allow neo-Nazis to march, but not us. France cannot give moral lessons: its police is racist; its police is violent.”

When the march reached Gare de l’Est, Assa Traore urged the protesters: “Leave peacefully. Go home now.”

At that point, police moved in to arrest two people, including Youssouf Traore, brother of Adama and Assa, and the Paris police department said later that Youssouf was being charged with aggression against the officers.

A lawmaker with the leftist La France Insoumise (France Unbowed) party, Thomas Portes, posted on Twitter a photo of officers in full riot gear kneeling on top of Youssouf Traore as they handcuffed him.

And journalists trying to cover Youssouf’s arrest said that police struck them and damaged their equipment.

Some 3,700 people were detained nationwide during six nights of disturbances that followed the June 27 death of 17-year-old Nahel Merzouk in the Paris suburb of Nanterre.

The youth was fatally shot during a traffic stop and the officer has been charged.

Demonstrations against police violence also took place Saturday in Marseille, Strasbourg, and Lille, among other cities.



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