Paris memorial march banned as more protests called across France

World Sunday 09/July/2023 07:38 AM
Paris memorial march banned as more protests called across France

Paris: More than 1,000 protesters flouted a ban and assembled in the heart of Paris for a mourning event, along with dozens of marches that were scheduled all throughout France to protest racial profiling and police brutality, Al Jazeera reported.

The riots that rocked the nation a week prior to the rallies on Saturday were prompted by the death of a teenager in a suburb of the French capital. The demonstrations were called by the family of Adama Traore, a Black man from France who passed away in police custody in 2016 under circumstances reminiscent of the shooting death of George Floyd in the United States, as per Al Jazeera.

Assa Traore, Traore's older sister, was about to lead the memorial march outside of Paris.
A police spokesperson, however, said that the protests had been restricted due to the risks to public order, citing a "context of tensions" following the recent unrest on French streets.
Traore's sister denounced the decision in a video posted on Twitter.

"The government has decided to add fuel to the fire (and) not to respect the death of my little brother," she could be heard saying in the video.

She said instead of the planned event, should would take part in a rally in central Paris's Place de la Republique to tell the "the whole world that our dead have the right to exist, even in death."

She added, "They authorise marches neo-Nazis but they don't allow us to march. France cannot give us moral lessons. Its police is racist and violent."

This weekend, there are over 30 such protests against police brutality planned throughout France, including in the towns of Lille, Marseille, Nantes, and Strasbourg, read a report published in Al Jazeera.

The French government and President Emmanuel Macron have both disputed that institutional racism exists in the nation's law enforcement forces.

Following the fatal shooting of Nahel M on June 27 during a traffic stop by a police officer, the French police have come under fire. The teenager, who is of Moroccan and Algerian descent, was driving a sports car without a licence.

Since the shooting, civil rights organisations have urged the police to address claims of racial profiling as well as concerns about hiring and training.

The United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) - a body comprising 18 independent experts - on Friday urged France to pass legislation defining and banning racial profiling and questioned "excessive use of force by law enforcement," according to Al Jazeera.

The CERT said it was worried by "the persistent practice of racial profiling combined with the excessive use of force in the application of the law, in particular by the police, against members of minority groups, notably people of African and Arab origin."

In connection with the protests since Nahel's death, more than 3,700 persons, including at least 1,160 minors, have been taken into police custody, according to official statistics.
On Saturday, the French foreign ministry challenged what it called the panel's "excessive" and "unfounded" remarks.

The most intense and widespread riots France has experienced since 2005 are being blamed on mass migration, and far-right groups are calling for restrictions on immigration.
The "citizens' marches" on Saturday, according to advocacy groups, will provide people with a chance to voice their "grief and anger" over discriminatory police practices, particularly in working-class areas, Al Jazeera reported.