PARIS, June 3 (KUNA) -- French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner on Wednesday sought to calm protests over an alleged racist killing by police and he promised that any crimes by police would be investigated and punished.
On Tuesday, more than 20,000 people demonstrated outside the Court of Justice building in the north of the capital, a protest that saw some violence and seven arrests as police sought to disperse the illegal gathering.
The Police Prefect said that under coronavirus lockdown rules he was obliged to put an end to the demonstration, an action that led to some clashes between demonstrators and police.
The crowds had gathered to protest an investigation that cleared French Gendarmes in the 2016 death of 24-year-old Adama Traore, a young black man arrested after a short chase.
According to his family, Traore's death resulted from smothering after he was pinned down by several Gendarmes. Family-ordered medical investigations upheld that theory but three official enquiries said Traore had a heart condition which caused his death.
The Interior Minister in a statement Wednesday said "every error, every excess, every word, including racist" would be investigated and punished.
He added that mistakes in the police must be punished and are currently punished.
Civil rights activists, including government-appointed monitors of police behaviour, maintain there is a racist attitude by some police and black and Arab people are significantly more likely to be controlled or arrested by police than whites.
The Paris protests coincided with nationwide demonstrations in the United States after the filmed killing of a handcuffed black man by policemen in Minneapolis nine days ago.
Protesters here, and in several cities, carried banners calling for justice in both the French and American cases. (end)