Making a Global Change: The French BLM

by Meghana Paturu ’22

Source: Wellesley College

Published Oct. 10th, 2020

On May 25, 2020, the death of George Floyd enraged and infuriated millions of Americans across the country, sparking thousands of protests nationwide. Even though the tragedy of George Floyd touched the hearts of the American people, it also reignited calls for justice all over the world. 

This summer, thousands of French citizens braved the risk of COVID-19 to denounce racism and police brutality in cities including Paris, Lyon, Lille, Nice, and Metz. For several weeks, protestors walked for hours on the streets of France to demonstrate the Black Lives Matter movement by chanting emphatic phrases and holding portraits of George Floyd and another man by the name of Adama Traoré. 

Adama Traoré, the son of Malian immigrants, died at the hands of the police under circumstances surprisingly similar to George Floyd’s death. Four years ago in 2016, Traoré fought for his life but ultimately died after he was suffocated by the police. Like Floyd and many other victims, his last words were, “I can’t breathe.”

At a protest in Bordeaux, Assa Traoré, Adama Traoré’s older sister, rallied the French people by saying, “Tonight, this fight is no longer just the fight of the Traoré family. It’s everyone’s struggle. We are fighting for our brother, in the US, George Floyd, and for Adama.” Both Floyd and Traoré’s deaths have become symbolic of the racism that has been prevalent across the globe for many decades. Today, they are leading figures in a movement that has strived and will continue to fight for revolutionary change. 

In a press conference, French Interior Minister Cristophe Castaner announced that French law enforcement would abandon the policing technique known as le plaquage ventral, or “ventral plating,” which involves “the strangulation” of the neck. Through these movements and protests, many French demonstrators have gained the attention of government officials, encouraging them to take legal action. However, the work for complete change and equality is not finished. 

It is important to remember that change does not happen overnight and requires time to be adopted. When thousands of people work together, they can bring significant changes to the issue of racial discrimination. Ultimately, it is always the right time to start voicing opinions and taking action. By taking account of the many protests in France, it is important to recognize the importance of the Black Lives Matter movement and how it has contributed to our world today.

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