Hundreds of French protest death of youth in police custody
Hundreds of French people have taken to the streets of a northern suburb of Paris for the fourth straight night to protest the death of a young man shortly after his arrest by police.
“Justice for Adama!” shouted the angry protesters on Friday evening, referring to 24-year-old Adama Traore, who died Tuesday soon after he was taken into custody by police officers in the town of Beaumont-sur-Oise.
The participants were estimated to number between 1,500 to 5,000.
A number of marchers put on T-shirts with the slogan “Justice for Adama, you will never have peace without justice” printed on them.
The crowd also chanted “Je Suis Adama,” echoing the “Je Suis Charlie” slogan that went viral following last year’s terrorist attack by Daesh-linked militants on the offices of satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo.
According to local authorities, an autopsy found that Traore was suffering from a severe infection at the time of his arrest and subsequent death, and that there were little signs of violence on his body.
The young man was detained after trying to interfere with the arrest of his brother in an extortion case, according to a source close to the investigation.
Traore’s sister, however, has blamed police officers for her brother’s death, telling reporters that he “was killed, he was subjected to violence.”
Meanwhile, local prosecutor Yves Jannier said Traore had “fainted during the ride” to the police station but paramedics, who were immediately summoned to the scene, were unable to revive him.
Jannier further described the infection as “very serious,” saying it had “impacted several organs,” without elaborating on the cause or nature of it.
Traore’s death triggered a wave of nightly clashes with police in his town and nearby suburbs on Tuesday.
Some 150 officers were deployed to the restive areas on Friday, authorities said.
On Thursday night, a group of furious protesters set fire to 15 vehicles amid violent clashes with police in Beaumont-sur-Oise.