On the 15th of February 2017 riots spilled onto the streets of the capital of France as people gathered to demand justice for a 22-year-old black man who accused the police of sexual assault with a baton after he was arrested.The riots prompted over 200 arrests. The rioters threw rocks at riot police, and, according to reports, one officer was injured but not seriously hurt. The young man named Théo was allegedly raped with a baton on February 2nd. As the days moved on the rioters moved into the central area of Paris. The rioters held signs that read Justice for Théo.

Local metro stations and off licenses were closed


Dominque Sopo, the head of the anti-racism group SOS Racisme, said: “What happened to Théo isn’t an isolated case. It’s a structural problem of police violence that France must have the maturity to tackle.” French president Francois Hollande called for justice for the young man, saying: “Justice must be served” on a visit to Aubervilliers. Hollande also condemned the riots, according to Thejournal.ie.

All officers involved in the arrest have been suspended with one being charged for rape. A separate investigation was launched into claims that one of the four suspended beat up another black youth, who was only identified as Mohamed K., and stating that he was punched, kicked, and beaten with a baton.

Anti-racism groups are calling for a severe change to the police force and how the police works in France. Many police however state that while they condemn the brutality, that the fear of being a police officer in France is very real, with places in Paris being no-go zones.

National Front leader Marine Le Pen, who many call France’s Trump, has called for the protest to be banned and for the government to “support the police." Socialist candidate Benoit Hamon accused Le Pen of adding fuel to the fire, saying,“She encourages violence through her hateful rhetoric,” With elections approaching in April, Le Pen is currently sitting at 27% support, more than any other candidate for the first round.

Although it is unlikely she will win the 7th of May runoff vote, her supporters claim she has the “silent majority” similar to how Donald Trump won the 2016 US presidential election, according to Express.co.uk.