Nearly 15,000 people in Paris defied the government’s orders restricting large gatherings amid the coronavirus pandemic to protest the killing of George Floyd, racial injustice and police abuse of power around the globe, according to reports.
The demonstrators took a knee and raised their fists Tuesday while firefighters fought to snuff out several blazes as a mostly peaceful, multiracial protest devolved into scattered tensions that resulted in the use of tear gas by police.
Video released by BFM TV appeared to show a group of protesters burning a Colonial American flag with French and American names inscribed on the white stripes, according to the Washington Post.
The protest, which was organized by “Justice for Adama,” also sought to raise awareness about incidents similar to Floyd’s killing, including Adama Traoré, a 24-year-old black man who died in custody of French police in 2016.
Demonstrators carried signs with both men’s names along with the words Floyd said while a Minneapolis cop knelt on his neck: “I can’t breathe.”
In Traoré’s case, police were accused of jumping on the construction worker’s back and suffocating him.
“Today, it’s no longer the fight of the Traoré family — it’s all of your fight,” Assa Traoré, Adama’s sister and one of the march’s organizers, told the crowds Tuesday, the Washington Post reported.
“Today, when we fight for George Floyd, we fight for Adama Traoré,” she added.
The demonstrations in France came amid a growing global outage over Floyd’s death.
Chanting “I can’t breathe,” thousands marched peacefully through Sydney, Australia’s largest city, while thousands more demonstrated in the Dutch capital of The Hague and hundreds protested in Tel Aviv, Israel.
Expressions of fury also erupted in multiple languages in social media, with thousands of Swedes joining an online protest and others speaking out under the banner of #BlackOutTuesday.
Diplomatic outrage also mounted, with the European Union’s top foreign policy official saying the bloc was “shocked and appalled” by Floyd’s death.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau refrained from directly criticizing President Trump, saying protests should force awareness of racism everywhere.
“We all watch in horror and consternation what’s going on in the United States,” Trudeau said after pausing 21 seconds before answering.
“But it is a time for us as Canadians to recognize that we, too, have our challenges, that black Canadians and racialized Canadians face discrimination as a lived reality every single day. There is systemic discrimination in Canada,” he added.
Paris protester Xavier Dintimille said: “This happened in the United States, but it happens in France, it happens everywhere,” adding that while police violence seems worse in the US, “all blacks live this to a degree.”
With Post wires