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Calls Increase for France to End Police Brutality and Racist Ideology

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In the French town of Maurepas, a rundown slum in Rennes in northern France, Babacar Gui, a 27-year-old Senegalese man, suffered an anxiety attack and cut himself with a table knife late at night on December 2, 2015.

One of his friends called an ambulance, but police officers from the Anti-Crime Squad showed up instead.

When they entered the building, one of the officers fired five bullets at Babiker, who died within an hour while in handcuffs.

A few hours later, all police officers who were on the scene deemed him responsible for his death.

Despite his death, they have filed charges against Babiker for the attempted murder of a person in public office, describing him as a particularly aggressive man, according to local media.

Babiker’s death sparked huge protests demanding justice and denouncing police abuses in the country.

The prosecution opened an investigation into “attempted murder of persons in public authority” and after several years of trial, the Rennes High Court closed the case, concluding that the police officer acted in self-defense.

The Guy family, which is still fighting for justice, described its battle to the local press as “a fight against the violence and racism of the state and its regime forces, its justice, its prisons and its detention centers.”

Long history of brutality and racism

Yasser Louati, a French political analyst and human rights advocate, who is currently the chair of the Commission for Justice and Freedoms (CJL), told Anadolu Agency (AA) that the French police have a long history of violence against the civilian population, with little or no scrutiny, “not to mention about penalties.

In his opinion, we must take a historical look at the Nazi connection that “initiated the decree that gave birth to” the modern French police.

We see, he added, that since then, her track record has been “not to protect, serve, and uphold the French values ​​of protecting the civilian population, but to discipline and punish.”

According to him, the Muslim, Arab and black minorities are brutally arrested and often killed by the police whether on the streets or in police stations.

However, despite a long history of brutality and racism and multiple studies showing the extent to which far-right ideology has pervaded within the ranks of the police, the government does not appear willing to act to reconsider the relationship of the police to the general population, Al Lawati said.

“As a matter of fact, we’re seeing things get worse, less transparency, less accountability, and overwhelming power given to the police with little or no scrutiny,” he said.

Al-Lawati pointed out that every time a Muslim meets with the French police, “their lives are in danger.”

He said that a Muslim is more likely to be arrested and beaten by the police and that is why they are at greater risk of dying at the hands of the police.

According to a 2017 Ombudsman report, blacks and Arabs are 20 times more likely to be racially profiled by the police.

A study conducted by the independent French media, Basta, revealed that between 1977 and 2020, 746 people were killed by the police in France, including 61 women and 82 children under the age of 18.

Of the 444 people who were shot dead, 253 were unarmed, while one in 10 died from the inability to breathe, according to the study.

“It is not the right time to be black, Arab or Muslim in France, especially with this kind of police,” who was born under a fascist government, said Al Lawati.

French George Floyd

Al-Lawati noted that French elites are easily ready to invoke racism and police brutality in the United States or elsewhere, but they have no lessons to give “when we see what happens in France.”

For example, since the killing of George Floyd by a police officer in the United States two years ago, “we’ve seen many pundits in the media, right and left, and people in government calling out racism and police brutality in the United States.”

Al-Lawati said that they called for demonstrations against racism and police brutality in France, adding that the French authorities refuse to consider the spread of racism on French soil, especially how institutions such as the police become racist and violent.

“We haven’t seen these members of government support the families of victims of police brutality when they take the matter to court,” because it is more politically profitable to support the police than to question them, and “that’s where the hypocrisy lies,” he added.

In 2016, a 24-year-old Malian Adama Traoré, nicknamed “French George Floyd”, died in police custody in a suburb north of Paris.

The similarities between the fate of Adama Traoré and that of George Floyd show striking similarities between police violence and unrest in France and the United States.

Both black men died at the hands of the police, struggling to breathe in their final moments.

Their deaths have become rallying points around the world for protests against police brutality.

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