Latest: Thousands gather in Paris against excessive force

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AT THE TOP OF THE HOUR:

— Thousands of people gather in Paris for Adama Traore, 24, who died in police custody.

— Parisian shops, restaurants nearby along the road of the planned march.

— London police impose restrictions as planned for counter-demonstrations.

— Some members of the Swat team are resigning in South Florida.

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PARIS – Thousands of people have gathered in Paris to denounce police brutality and discrimination.

Screams rang out from the largely black crowd as a group of white far-right activists climbed a building and unfurled a huge banner denouncing “anti-white racism.” Others tried to demolish it.

Police have surrounded the area, preparing for possible violence. There have been scattered clashes during largely peaceful demonstrations across France, inspired by Black Lives Matter and global protests following the death of George Floyd.

The march in Paris was led by supporters of Adama Traoré, a 24-year-old black French man who died in 2016. Traoré did not have his ID card on him and allegedly ran as the police approached.

A huge portrait showed a face of half Traoré, half Floyd. Traoré’s sister Assa told the crowd, “We all demand the same thing- justice just for everyone.” She says her brother was also handcuffed and restrained by police before he died.

A final report released last month cleared three officers of wrongdoing, sparking fresh protests. This week, the government banned chokeholds in France.

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PARIS – Police have ordered the closure of recently reopened restaurants and shops along the route of a march in Paris against police brutality and racism, fearing possible violence.

The march between Place de la Republique in eastern Paris and the city’s main opera house is expected to be the largest of several saturday protests inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement in the United States.

The Paris police chief ordered shopkeepers and city officials to clear the sidewalks along the road of anything that could be set on fire or used by troublemakers against the police. Any gathering of more than 10 people remains banned in France due to containment measures of the virus.

The Paris march was organized by supporters of Adama Traoré, a Black Frenchman who died in police custody in 2016 in circumstances that remain unclear despite four years of autopsies. They demand “justice for Adama and all the victims of the police.”

France has seen several similar protests following the death of George Floyd in the United States. They were extremely peaceful, although some saw scattered clashes between police and protesters.

Protests are also expected on Saturday in Marseille, Lyon and other French cities.

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LONDON – British police have imposed strict restrictions on groups planning to demonstrate in London on Saturday to avoid violent clashes.

Protesters from the Black Lives Matter movement, as well as far-right groups, said they intended to gather for demonstrations in central London.

Mayor Sadiq Khan warned that statues in the capital – especially a statue of Winston Churchill in Parliament Square – could become flashpoints for violence. He said officials have intelligence that far-right activists want to gather in London “ostensibly, they say, to protect the statues.”

Commander Bas Javid urged people not to gather in large groups because of coronavirus. But if they do, he said, activists must stick to the planned route and get off the streets before 5 p.m.

He said that while last weekend’s protesters were largely peaceful, a minority was the “intent of disorder” that resulted in assaults on police and violent behaviour.

Dozens of people were arrested over the weekend and a police horse was photographed fleeing in front of the crowd amid the chaos.

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HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – Ten members of the SWAT team of a South Florida police department have resigned from the team, citing security concerns and the “disdain” of local officials for the unit.

The eight officers and two sergeants resigned from the team, but did not resign from the Hallandale Beach Police Department.

Police Chief Sonia Quinones received a note from the SWAT team Friday morning, city manager Greg Chavarria said in a statement, according to media.

Officers stated that they were “poorly equipped” and had been “disrespectful” by municipal officials who refused to address equipment and training concerns.

“The risk of performing our duties in this capacity is no longer acceptable to us and our families,” the officers wrote in the June 9 memo. “The anguish and stress of knowing that what we can be legally called upon to do in today’s political climate, combined with the current situation of the team and several recent local events, leave us in an untenable position.”

Officers also expressed outrage that the command staff had recently joined protesters and other officials in kneeling as protesters demanded the reopening of the Howard Bowe case.

“This lack of support from the Command Staff paralyzes the agency and its rank and record,” the memo reads.

Bowe, a 34-year-old black man, was killed in 2014 by the Hallandale Beach SWAT team while conducting a search warrant and raiding her home. The officers wrote that investigators never concluded that any misconduct was committed by the officers involved in Bowe’s death. The case later resulted in a $425,000 settlement between Bowe’s family and the city.

DALLAS – Dallas authorities have agreed to a 90-day ban on the use of tear gas and other less lethal police crowd control weapons against protesters.

U.S. District Judge Sam Lindsay approved late Thursday a consent decree in which Dallas police agree not to use against peaceful protesters smoke bombs, flashbangs, pepperballs, Mace or other chemical agents. They also agree not to fire impact projectiles such as rubber bullets, beanbags or sponges.

The preliminary injunction will remain in effect until September 9, unless the judge is prorogued, amended or dissolved by the judge.

Tasia Williams and Vincent Doyle sued the city and police after rubber bullets wounded them during two separate Black Lives Matter marches in Dallas.

The protests are a reaction to the murder of George Floyd by a Minnesota police officer.

SEATTLE – A federal judge has ordered Seattle to temporarily stop using tear gas, pepper spray and flash bang devices to break peaceful protests.

The 14-day edict is a victory for groups that say authorities overreacted to protests in the city after the death of George Floyd. A Black Lives Matter group sued the Seattle Police Department this week to end the violent tactics police have used to break largely peaceful protests in recent days.

Officers used tear gas, pepper spray and other less lethal weapons against crowds who demonstrated against racism and police brutality after Floyd’s murder in Minneapolis.

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan and Police Chief Carmen Best apologized to peaceful protesters who were subjected to chemical weapons. However, Best said some protesters had violently targeted police, throwing projectiles and ignoring orders to disperse.

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