Paris riot police fire tear gas during clashes with anti-racism protesters

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Paris riot police fire tear gas during clashes with anti-racism protesters

Riot police have clashed with protesters in Paris after thousands turned out to denounce racism.

Tear gas was fired into the crowds when violence erupted three hours into a peaceful demonstration against police brutality on Saturday.

The protest, which drew an estimated crowd of 15,000, comes as anger continues to sweep the globe following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, USA while in police custody.

Reuters news agency reports that activists began hurling bottles, paving stones and bicycle wheels at police lines after being refused permission to march to the city’s Opera House.

An Orange mobile phone outlet was also vandalised.

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Police then fired tear gas and charged at pockets of violent protesters.

In one of the world’s biggest demonstrations on Saturday, anti-racist protesters had gathered at the Place de la République in central Paris chanting slogans such as “no justice, no peace”.

One banner read: “I hope I don’t get killed for being black today”.

Paris riot police fire tear gas during clashes with anti-racism protesters 1

The event was met by a group of far-right activists, who unfurled a banner with the words “anti-white racism” from the rooftop of a building overlooking the protest.

However, residents emerged onto their balconies and ripped it up using with knives and scissors to cheers from below.

Assa Traore, the sister of 24-year-old Adama Traore, who died near Paris in 2016 after being detained by French police, was among those to address the crowds.

Paris riot police fire tear gas during clashes with anti-racism protesters 2

“The death of George Floyd has a strong echo in the death in France of my little brother,” she said.

“What’s happening in the United States is happening in France. Our brothers are dying.”

Traore’s family say he was asphyxiated when three officers held him down with the weight of their bodies.

Paris riot police fire tear gas during clashes with anti-racism protesters 3

Authorities, however, say the cause of his death is unclear.

Earlier this week, Interior Minister Christophe Castaner acknowledged there were “proven suspicions of racism” within French law enforcement agencies.

His remarks have been met with criticism from police unions, who say officers are being scapegoated for deep-rooted social ills.

Paris riot police fire tear gas during clashes with anti-racism protesters 4

Another protest took place in Marseille, where police also fired tear gas after protesters threw stones and set bins alight, BFM television reports.

It comes after shocking scenes of violence were seen across the UK after right-wing groups launched counter-protests to Black Lives Matter demonstrations.

Men were left bloodied as thugs and anti-racist demonstrators came to blows during clashes in London .

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People were knocked to the floor and left needing treatment from paramedics as officers tried to stop fights in Trafalgar Square, after far-right demonstrators had attacked police and journalists.

Police were seen protecting some people who lay prone on the ground in scenes of chaos shortly before a 5pm curfew, aimed at ending the demonstrations, went into effect.

After the deadline, there were further scenes of violence at Waterloo station when fights broke out as anti-racism activists attacked thugs who were trying to catch trains homes, according to witnesses.

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