Like George Floyd in America, Adama Traoré, was pinned down by three officers in July 2016 in northern Paris dying in handcuffs in the police van. The state agency which conducted Traoré’s autopsy claimed he died from existing health conditions in contrast to the family’s account from an independent examiner detailing otherwise.
Curiously, the last words from both men was “I can’t breathe.”
For years, the Traoré family demanded for the prosecution of the three officers for their relative’s murder to no avail, but when protest erupted in all 50 US states demanding that the four officers whose actions killed Floyd face charges, sister of Adama, Assa Traoré wasted no time in staging a protest in Paris in solidarity with the US demands and to press the Traoré issue once again.
When Traoré died, there was two days of demonstrations in the immigrant dominant suburbs from people of African stock who have endured police brutalities for decades.
The Traoré family maintains he suffocated under the weight of the three officers who used a controversial technique to restrain him.
Defying police orders, some 20,000 people gathered outside the French capital’s tribunal on Tuesday to lend support for the Black Lives Matter protests, demand justice for Traoré, as well as, protest against racism and impunity.
It’s really kicking off in Paris now! pic.twitter.com/GPnWJFYlje— Jerome Roos (@JeromeRoos) June 2, 2020
“Today, it’s no longer the fight of the Traoré family — it’s your fight too,” Assa Traoré, one of the march’s key organizers, told the crowd. “Today, when we fight for George Floyd, we fight for Adama Traoré too.”
Although Paris police banned the protest on Tuesday, saying it broke social-distancing rules put in place due to the coronavirus, it went ahead regardless. Although peaceful, the sea of protesters burned trash cans, electric bikes, and set alight barricades with security forces responding with tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse the crowds.
Police say the protest was dispersed by 10 p.m. local time, however, smaller demonstrations also went ahead in the French cities of Marseille, Lyon, and Lille.