Violent protests have erupted in Parisian suburbs after the police was accused of raping a 22-year-old man named Theo in Aulnay-sous-Bois, to the north east of Paris.
A preliminary investigation concluded there was insufficient proof to support the rape allegations.
Demonstrators carried banners reading ‘Justice for Theo’. Various anti-racism activists have also took part in the protests. The protesters have argued that Theo’s case is just one of many, and accused the police of brutality towards young men.
The case of the (alleged) raping of Theo by the police, has become a symbol of resistance against police brutality. However, the protests have turned violent after demonstrators clashed with the police in the Parisian suburbs.
According to the local media, the protesters, mostly young men, torched cars and clashed with police for several days.
During the past years, Paris has witnessed several violent protests, most notably in 2005, when protests raged for almost three weeks, in Paris, as well as other cities and towns across France.
2005 protests resulted in 3 deaths and nearly 3000 arrests.
One police source told Le Parisien that the current protests are reminiscent of a ‘dark chapter in the history of Paris suburbs.’
“With this Theo case, we’re getting the feeling that the riots of 2005 are going to kick off again,” the source told the paper.
The protests in Paris are taking place in an extremely unstable political situation, as France has experienced several bloody terrorists attacks in past years, leaving hundreds dead. A state of emergency has been declared in 2015, following since the attacks in Paris killed 130 people. French parliament has voted to extend the state of emergency until July and the Presidential election.
Paris police installed a security perimeter around Saturday’s rally on the Place de la République in eastern Paris, due to fears that the protests will spread to city center.
Meanwhile, one of the candidates in the presidential election, Marine Le Pen, criticized the incumbent President François Hollande’s handling of the Paris riots:
In a state of emergency, it is completely irresponsible to let a protest against the police and alleged police violence take place.
This government has remained unresponsive for years to scoundrels who make their laws in certain districts and do not hesitate to unleash their violence as soon as a demonstration gives them the opportunity.
Wrote Le Pen, and urged the government to ban the protests out of respect for the police who are ensuring the safety of French citizens during the country’s extended state of emergency.
Image: The Local