Violence continues near Paris after youth dies in police custody
Fresh clashes have erupted between French police and protesters in the suburbs of Paris for a third night amid simmering anger over the death of a young man in police custody.
On Thursday night, a group of furious protesters set fire to 15 vehicles in the town of Beaumont-sur-Oise, north of Paris, two days after Adama Traore, 24, was reported to have died following his arrest by police.
Traore’s family and friends say he was healthy, and was “beaten to death” after being taken into custody on charges of interfering in the arrest of his brother in an extortion case.
Authorities, however, said Traore was suffering from a serious infection at the time of his death, citing an autopsy report that they said showed little signs of violence on his body.
Local prosecutor Yves Jannier said Traore “fainted during the ride” to a police station, adding that the paramedics summoned to attend to him were unable to revive him.
Jannier further added that autopsy results showed the infection was “very serious” and had “impacted several organs.”
Meanwhile, the medical examiner had found scratches but no “marks of significant violence”on the Traore’s body.
The family of the victim, however, said they would seek an outside expert’s opinion before his burial.
“The infection that Adama Traore may have been suffering from does not explain the causes of his death,” said the family’s lawyer, Karim Achoui.
The clashes first broke out on Tuesday following the news of Traore’s death.
During the skirmishes, five members of French paramilitary police were injured and nine cars set on fire, while several public buildings were damaged.
The unrest continued Wednesday night in a series of villages located about 30 kilometers north of Paris, with the enraged protesters attempting to set a mayor’s office and a preschool on fire.
The violence came as French security forces are stretched to their limit after months on high alert for terror attacks and anti-government protest rallies in the country.