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No Justice, No Peace: France Shouts George Floyd and Adama Traoré’s Name

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UIC chapter.

When the word got out in the U.S. about George Floyd, the nation erupted with anger. His story began to spread all over the world, including France. Yet, when France broke into protest, not only did they shout George Floyd’s name, but Adama Traoré was also on their minds.

Black Lives Matter George Floyd sign
Photo by Lorie Shaull from Flickr

“In July 2016, Traoré, a French black man, died in police custody in a suburb outside of Paris. Although there is no video, many in France believe that, like Floyd, Traoré was asphyxiated by police,” (Beardsley). After investigating his corpse, the reason for his death was inconclusive, as there were no bullet wounds. This leads many people to believe that he was violently asphyxiated. Of course, none of the police who were involved in the case were arrested, which was beyond frustrating to many people. When the word spread, more than 20,000 people stood up to police brutality, in his name. The protestors shout George Floyd’s name, along with Adama Traoré, to honor both of them. They repeat, “no justice, no peace!” The image exhibited  above the article shows a group of young adults, kneeling with their fists raised, representing their protest against police brutality. Situations like this have been occurring for a long time for minorities in France. 

Trace back to October 17, 1961, protesters were violently mistreated by the police. 20-30,000 Algerians swarmed the streets of Paris, protesting against police prosecution, where the police discriminacy was led by Chief of Police, Maurice Papon.

“The police used exceptionally high levels of violence to ‘pacify’ the protestors, strangling and indiscriminately beating individuals (with long deadly sticks known as matraques and bidules) and throwing the bodies of many unconscious or fatally wounded into the Seine, before incarcerating thousands of men in insalubrious makeshift detention centres located on the fringes of the city (the Palais des Sports, the Parc des Expositions, the Stade de Coubertin and the Beaujon Stadium).” There was a very high mortality rate on this day, shocking the country into devastation. 

Police brutality is the same in France as it is in the U.S. It is appalling to see how this sort of violence is found all over the world. Minorities constantly have to deal with police harassment, just because they are prejudged by the way that they look. Oftentimes, people in France are stopped by authorities just because they look “suspicious”.

Such is the situation in 2005, on October 27. After a call about a break in, police arrive near the scene and find three young, Arabic boys. Afraid of police harassment, the boys ran and climbed a power plant to escape. Whilst doing so, two of the boys were electrocuted to death and the last was severely burned by the 20,000-volt shock. As it turns out, there was no robbery and the Arabic boys were simply in the area playing soccer. France rioted in response.

Minorities in France deal with harassment and mistreatment from the Police, just like minorities in the U.S. do. This is not how police are trained to handle situations. Authorities need to be penalized for unjustified acts, instead of being put above the law.

Christina is a Professional Writing major, minoring in Spanish, at University of Illinois at Chicago. She is the Senior Editor and President for Her Campus Media, following her passions to one day become an editor as a career.
UIC Contributor.