Assa Traore, Adama Traore's sister, during the undeclared demonstration in which 20,000 people participated - Michel Euler / AP / SIPA

  • Nearly 20,000 people gathered on Tuesday evening in front of the Paris courthouse to denounce the police violence.
  • This unreported demonstration had been banned by the Prefecture of Police due to the state of health emergency, which prohibited gatherings of more than 10 people.
  • The prefect of police reported the facts to the Paris prosecutor's office, which could initiate proceedings against the organizers.

They braved the ban to come and denounce the police violence. About 20,000 people, responding to the call from the family support committee of Adama Traoré, gathered on Tuesday evening in the forecourt of the Paris courthouse. A demonstration which had however not been declared and which the Prefecture of police had prohibited because of the state of health emergency which prohibits any public gathering of more than ten people. "Any large gathering is conducive to the spread of the Covid-19 virus in a department where it continues to circulate," previously recalled the "PP" in a press release.

The next day, the prefect of police, Didier Lallement, reported the facts to the courts on the basis of article 40 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. The report is still "under analysis", indicates the Paris prosecutor's office at 20 Minutes . Clearly: he has not yet decided whether an investigation will be opened and proceedings instituted against the organizers, namely relatives of this young 24-year-old black man who died in 2016 after his arrest by gendarmes. If this were the case, the latter incur six months' imprisonment and a 7,500 euro fine, according to article 431-9 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.

Rare convictions

But in reality, convictions are rare. In September 2019, a figure of the "yellow vests" of Saint-Brieuc was sentenced to 70 hours of community service for having organized prohibited demonstrations at the end of 2018, reports Le Télégramme . In March 2016, a former soldier, already known to the justice system, was sentenced to "three months suspended prison sentence with a two-year probation with obligation to work and to complete a citizenship course" by the court of Boulogne-sur-Mer for having organized, in Calais, a demonstration prohibited by the prefecture.

In France, the right to demonstrate is indeed guaranteed by article 10 of the declaration of the rights of the man and the citizen of 1789. "No one should be worried for his opinions, even religious, provided that their demonstration does not disturb not public order established by law. The organizers only need to declare the event at least three days earlier, as indicated in article L211-2. However, the authorities can issue an order to ban it if they believe it is "likely to disturb public order", reports article L211-4.

A new cluster?

As for the participants, they risk only a simple fourth class ticket in the amount of 135 euros, as provided for in article R 644-4 of the penal code. Unless they have committed other offenses. Tuesday evening, 18 people were arrested on the sidelines of the rally, which was peppered with incidents. "On the whole, they are suspected of participating in a crowd despite summons, violence and contempt against the police or the carrying of prohibited weapons", indicates to 20 Minutes a judicial source .

Some were placed in police custody in Paris, others in the Hauts-de-Seine. According to our information, two people were the subject of a classification without continuation for insufficiently characterized infringement, seven were referred this Thursday to the parquet floor of Paris, one was referred before the delegate of the prosecutor of Nanterre for contempt and rebellion , seven are the subject of criminal orders for participation in a demonstration prohibited on the public highway. Finally, a minor was referred for a measure of criminal reparation.

This Thursday evening, three additional people had been placed in police custody in the Hauts-de-Seine after exploitation of the video surveillance images, learns 20 Minutes . They are suspected of setting garbage cans on fire during the demonstration.

One question remains: will the authorities ask the 20,000 participants to go for testing to avoid a new cluster, as they did when, at the end of May, several hundred people attended a football match in Strasbourg?


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  • Justice
  • Deconfinement
  • Coronavirus
  • Paris
  • Gathering
  • Demonstration
  • Police violence