1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites

Protesters in Paris decry police violence

July 19, 2020

Thousands of people have rallied near Paris to mark four years since the death in custody of Adama Traore. His case, bolstered by the Black Lives Matter movement, has put renewed focus on alleged police racism in France.

eople wearing protective face masks attend a march in memory of Adama Traore, a 24-year-old Black Frenchman who died in a 2016 police operation
Image: Reuters/G. Fuentes

Several thousand protesters marched through the town of Val-d'Oise, outside Paris, on Saturday to commemorate the fourth anniversary of the death of Adama Traore, a Black man who died in police custody.

The 24-year-old fainted after being pinned to the ground by officers during his arrest in July 2016 and later died at a police station.

Chanting "No justice, no peace!" the crowd marched behind a banner showing Traore's face together with that of George Floyd, a Black man who died after being choked by a white police officer in the US city of Minneapolis in May sparking Black Lives Matter demonstrations around the world.

Read more: George Floyd reaction: Europe heeds call for fresh protests

'No man should die like that'

Traore's case has become a symbol for the campaign against discrimination and police violence in France and has gained new momentum in the wake of the Floyd-inspired anti-racism protests.

The circumstances leading up to Traore's death remain unclear. Since 2016, his family has been seeking a full account of events, and for the gendarmes involved to be charged with homicide.

"No man, no person should die like that, at that age," his sister Assa Traore, who has led the family's legal fight, said at the rally.

No one has been charged over the death, and the case is still under investigation. Court-ordered medical reports showed Traore died from heart failure, but his family has pointed to an independent autopsy that named asphyxiation as the cause of death. French judges ordered a new inquiry earlier this year, with results expected in early 2021.

An anti-racism march was also taking place in the German capital, Berlin, on Saturday. Holding posters saying, "racism kills, mentally, physically, globally," more than 1,500 protesters marched through the inner city to condemn police brutality.

Given that coronavirus restrictions are still in place in public spaces across Germany, many wore face coverings and attempted to keep 1.5 meters (5 feet) away from other protesters.

nm/aw (AFP, AP, dpa)

Anti-racism demonstrations in France