Several thousand people defied a coronavirus-related ban on protests to pay homage to George Floyd and Adama Traore, a French Black man who died in police custody.
Tear gas choked Paris streets as riot police faced off with protesters setting fires amid growing global outrage over Floyd’s death in the United States, racial injustice and heavy-handed police tactics around the world.
Police had banned the protest because of coronavirus-related restrictions that forbid any gathering of more than 10 people.
French protesters took a knee and raised their fists while firefighters struggled to extinguish multiple blazes as a largely peaceful, multiracial demonstration degenerated into scattered tensions.
Two small fires broke out, and green and grey barriers surrounding a construction site were knocked over.
Tensions also erupted at a related protest in the southern city of Marseille.
Many of the protesters drew inspiration from the protest movement in the US over the police killing of Floyd, an unarmed Black man, brandishing viral slogans in English such as “Black Lives Matter” and “I can’t breathe”.
“Today we are not just talking about the fight of the Traore family. It is the fight for everyone. When we fight for George Floyd, we fight for Adama Traore,” Adama’s sister Assa Traore said at the protest.
“What is happening in the United States is an echo of what is happening in France,” she added.