Paris [France], July 9: People took to the streets in several French cities on Saturday in renewed condemnation of the death of a teenager during a traffic stop near Paris two weeks earlier even as the he French Foreign Ministry has rejected allegations of structural racism in the national police force made by the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD).
Any accusation of racism or systemic discrimination by the country's police force was unfounded, the ministry said on Saturday. Fighting racism and all forms of discrimination is a political priority, according to a statement released in Paris.
"Any measures of ethnic profiling by the forces of law and order are prohibited in France as they violate the constitutional principle of equality," the ministry stressed.
The ministry said it was working hard to fight against excessive racial profiling. The ministry also rejected that French police use excessive force, saying the use of force was "subject to the principles of absolute necessity and proportionality and is strictly monitored and controlled."
Following widespread riots after the death of a teenager by a police bullet during a traffic check on June 27, CERD issued a statement in Geneva on Friday on the situation in France. It denounced excessive force by police and discriminatory checks along racial lines.
France was also called upon to review its legal framework on the use of lethal force by police.
In Strasbourg, several hundred protesters set off in the morning carrying a banner with the inscription "In mourning and in anger." A demonstration planned in Marseille was moved out of the city centre on police orders.
In the outskirts of Paris, controversy flared over a march planned in memory of a young black man who died during a separate traffic stop by police in 2016. His sister wanted to move the protest rally, which had been banned in a suburb, to the centre of Paris.
Police banned the march on Saturday morning, citing the tense situation after the recent riots across the country.
The rally had also been registered too late and no police officers were available to escort the march because of other rallies, the ban order specified. Nevertheless, people were expected to gather at the capital's Place de la Republique in the afternoon.
France has been rocked by riots and protests against police violence since the death on June 27 of the 17-year-old, identified by his first name Nahel, in the Nanterre suburb of Paris.
Source: Qatar Tribune