Anti-racism protesters in Paris defy ban

By AAP Newswire

Thousands of anti-racism protesters have gathered in several French cities, including Paris, where they defied a police ban as deaths from the coronavirus approach nearly 30,000.

Protests also took place on Saturday in Lyon, Lille and Rennes, according to local news reports.

Some 23,000 people demonstrated nationwide, 5500 of them in Paris, French media reported, citing the Interior Ministry.

Many of the demonstrators held up banners showing support for the Black Lives Matter movement and the protests against police brutality that rocked the United States after the death of African-American George Floyd in police custody.

Others on Saturday demanded justice for Adam Traore, the son of a Malian immigrant who died in French police custody four years ago.

The protesters in Paris went on the streets despite a ban on demonstrations imposed due to the risk of spreading the coronavirus.

A government website said France's coronavirus death toll rose by 31 on Saturday to reach 29,142.

The French death toll is the fifth-largest in the world.

Some gathered near the US embassy in the landmark Place de la Concorde square, with many wearing face masks. Later in the day, they moved to the Champ de Mars, near the Eiffel Tower.

Public gatherings of more than 10 people are banned in France as part of virus restrictions.

But thousands went on the streets on Tuesday as part of peaceful protests called by Traore's family.

Traore died in disputed circumstances in 2016 after his arrest by gendarmes in a town north of the capital.