Adama Traoré: French anti-racism protests defy police ban

Thousands of people have joined 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.

There were also demonstrations in other cities, including Marseille, Lyon and Lille. Some of the demonstrators carried Black Lives Matter placards – the movement that began in the US and has spread internationally.

Mr Traoré died in a police station after being apprehended by officers in the Paris suburbs and losing consciousness in their vehicle.

One of the officers told investigators that he and two colleagues pinned down Mr Traoré using their bodyweight.

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.

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