French anti-racism protests defy police ban

Thousands of people have taken part in protests in France over the 2016 death of a black man in police custody, defying police orders not to assemble due to coronavirus restrictions.
The death of Adama Traoré, 24, has been likened to the killing of George Floyd in the US, whose death has sparked protests across the country.
Police clashed with protesters in the Paris suburbs on Tuesday.
The Paris police chief has rejected charges of racism against his force.
About 20,000 people defied the order on mass gatherings to join the protest. Initially peaceful, the march turned violent, with stones thrown at police and tear gas fired back.
Some of the demonstrators carried Black Lives Matter placards – the movement that began in the US and has spread internationally.
There were also demonstrations in other cities, with thousands attending rallies in Marseille, Lyon and Lille.
Interior minister Christophe Castaner criticised the protests in a tweet. “Violence has no place in a democracy,” he wrote, and he congratulated the police “for their control and composure”.
Police union official Yves Lefebvre insisted the two cases were very different but he warned that France’s inner-city banlieues (suburbs) were like a pressure-cooker, “ready to explode”.
Traoré was stopped by police in July 2016 when out with his brother in the Paris suburb of Beaumont-sur-Oise.
The 24-year-old did not have his identity card on him, and ran as the police approached. Three Gendarmerie officers chased him down and detained him. Shortly after, he died in their custody.
One later told investigators he and his two colleagues had pinned down Mr Traoré using their bodyweight.
Following his death in 2016, violent protests were seen in Paris for several days.
His case has become a rallying cry against police brutality in France, which young ethnic minority communities say targets them.
Official reports indicate he died of heart failure, possibly due to an underlying health condition. Last Thursday, the officers who detained Mr Traoré were exonerated by a police investigation.
But another autopsy, requested by Traoré’s family, reportedly suggests it was the police’s actions that caused his death.

According to broadcaster Franceinfo, the independent report says he died of “positional asphyxia” caused by being placed in the prone position.
On Tuesday campaigners defied authorities, after their request for permission to protest was denied by police. -BBC

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