Thousands have gathered in Paris, Lyon, Marseille, and Lille to protest police brutality and pay homage to Adama Traoré and George Floyd on Tuesday, June 2, despite a ban on gatherings of more than ten people due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. Most demonstrators carried signs supporting the Black Lives Matter movement, that originated in the US and is growing internationally. In Paris, protests started peacefully, however, later demonstrators have set two small fires and knocked over several construction barriers. The police have used tear gas to disperse gatherings in the capital. Similar protests and tensions have also been reported in protests in Marseille, Lyon, and Lille on Tuesday.
Further protests and associated unrest are possible in the coming days.
Adama Traoré died in July 2016 in a police station after losing consciousness in a police vehicle in the suburbs of Paris. The officers who had arrested Traoré were exonerated on Thursday, May 28.
George Floyd died while being arrested by Minneapolis police officers on May 25. The four arresting police officers were subsequently fired, and one has since been charged with murder. Black Lives Matter (BLM) supporters gathered on May 26 to denounce the death and actions of the police officers. Clashes ensued between protesters and riot police; with demonstrators throwing bricks and projectiles at police and police property, and police responding with tear gas and rubber bullets as they attempted to disperse the crowds. Protests have since spread to a number of cities across the US and internationally.
Individuals in Paris and across metropolitan areas in France are advised to monitor developments, avoid all protests as a precaution, and adhere to all instructions issued by local authorities.
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