French protesters mark death of Black man in police custody

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Demonstrators holding a placard reading "Generation Adama-Climate, we want to breathe" take part of a march to mark the fourth anniversary of the death of Adama Traore, a Black man in police custody, whose case has mobilized broad anger against police brutality and racial injustice, in Beaumont Sur Oise, north suburb of Paris, Saturday, July 18, 2020. The demonstration in Beaumont sur Oise is honoring Adama Traore, who died on his 24th birthday in July 2016 after an arrest in circumstances that remain unclear. But it's also about broader anti-government grievances, and climate activists are co-organizing this year's protest. (AP Photo/Rafael Yaghobzadeh)

PARIS – BEAUMONT-SUR-Singing “No justice, no peace!” thousands of protesters marched through a Paris suburb Saturday to mark the fourth anniversary of the death of a Black man in police custody whose case has mobilized broad anger against police brutality and racial injustice in France.

The festive demonstration and concert in Beaumont-sur-Oise honored Adama Traoré, who died on his 24th birthday in July 2016 after an arrest in circumstances that remain unclear. But it was also about broader anti-government grievances, and climate activists co-organized this year’s protest.

Since George Floyd’s killing by Minneapolis police in May, campaigning by Traore's family and other French activists against police violence targeting minorities has gained renewed attention and mobilized thousands in protests around the European Union nation.

Traore's sister Assa, who has led the family's long legal fight, called Saturday for police to be charged with homicide in her brother's death, saying her brother “took the weight of gendarmes" for several minutes.

Investigative efforts into the Traore case have revived in recent weeks, in the wake of Floyd-related Black Lives Matter protests.

“There are a huge number of names — they are immigrants, they are people from poor neighborhoods, they are Black, Arab, non-white — who are killed by police,” Assa Traore said Saturday.

"Why did those investigations happen four years later?” Assa Traore asked reporters. “These investigations are because the people put pressure on.”

On July 19, 2016, gendarmes approached Adama Traore and his brother for an identity check in Beaumont-sur-Oise north of Paris. Traore ran away because he didn’t have his ID, but the gendarmes arrested him. Within hours he was declared dead.