France: Black youth dies in police custody, sparking riot, media wrongly attributes violence to Islamism
Last week a street gang set a public bus on fire in the Paris suburb of Saint-Denis. Some international media, as well as anti-Islamic websites in the Czech Republic, ascribed the attack to Islamist radicals and alleged that the youths shouted "Allahu Akbar!" ("God is great!") during the attack.
French Police, however, say the attack had nothing to do with religion but was connected to the protests that broke out after a black youth was arrested by police and then died in their custody. The attack on the bus happened last Thursday and was captured on video by a random eyewitness.
The footage shows a group of masked youths blocking the bus using garbage cans and then attacking it with Molotov cocktails. Nobody was physically harmed during the attack.
The driver and 15 passengers managed to escape before the bus caught fire. A police spokesperson refuted media reports that Islamist terrorists had committed the attack on the bus.
"There is no proof that the attack was connected with Islam or that anybody shouted religious slogans during the attack," the police spokesperson said, adding that the attack was connected with the violent protests that broke out after the death of a black youth in mid-July. The violence happened in the municipality of Beaumont-sur-Oise near Paris, where the black youth came from, and in the neighboring municipalities of Bruyéres-sur-Oise and Persan.
The unrest broke out after Adam Traoré died on his 24th birthday. The public prosecutor said he had been involved in a case of blackmail, and after his arrest he took ill and died.
His family and friends, however, suspect that police officers beat Mr Traoré so badly as to kill him and that his death was racially motivated. His sister alleges the police murdered him.
The public prosecutor says an autopsy did not reveal any evidence of the police officers having been to blame for the young man's death. He is said to have succumbed to a serious infection that caused multiple organ failure.
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