Clashes in Paris between police and protesters angry over the killing of a Chinese man in his home by police have left three police officers injured and 35 protesters arrested, authorities said on Tuesday.
Demonstrators gathered on Monday evening in the multicultural 19th district on the French capital’s northeastern edge.
With candles spelling “violence” lining the road, scores of protesters broke down barricades, threw projectiles and set fire to a car during violence that lasted several hours.
Police sources told the AFP agency that officers were called to the man’s house on Sunday after reports of a domestic dispute. An officer shot the man after being attacked with a knife, according to the official account.
The man’s family, though, has disputed this and said there was no domestic dispute. They say the man was shot without warning after a neighbour called the police about shouting.
On Tuesday, China urged France to “guarantee the safety and legal rights and interests of Chinese citizens in France and to treat the reaction of Chinese people to this incident in a rational way,” foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a regular press briefing, adding that the government had filed an official complaint.
After learning of the incident, China “immediately ordered its embassy in France to activate an emergency response mechanism [and] made representations with the French side, asking them to get to the bottom of the incident,” she said.
“Meanwhile, we hope that our citizens … in France can express their wishes and demands in a lawful and reasonable way.”
The violence comes just days after several thousand people marched in Paris in a show of anger sparked by the alleged rape in February of a young black man with a police baton, and other alleged police abuse.
Protesters chanted “no justice, no peace” and “police everywhere, justice nowhere” to call for an end to what they say is the use of excessive police force, especially against black and other minority groups.
The 22-year-old man, identified only as Theo, was allegedly raped with the baton when officers stopped him in the northern Paris suburb Aulnay-sous-Bois. He was hospitalised for two weeks.
One officer has been charged with rape, while three others have been accused of aggravated assault. A lawyer for the officer charged with rape said that any injury inflicted was done accidentally. All have denied any intentional wrongdoing.
Theo has become a symbol of minority victims of police brutality, prompting widespread protests that have sometimes descended into riots.
Anarchists faced off with riot police at the end of that march and tear gas was fired. But clashes remained limited in scope and violence.
On the same night that Theo was allegedly raped, a sold-out concert took place to support the family of Traore who died in police custody in July 2016.
It was his case that propelled the issue of police brutality into the spotlight across France last year. Police originally said he died of a heart attack, but a second autopsy found Adama passed away due to asphyxiation. An investigation is still ongoing.
A 2009 study found that a person of African or Caribbean background is six times more likely to be stopped by French police than a white person.