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France convicts 2,000 people in connection with June protests

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Police arrest protesters in Nice, southeastern France, July 1, 2023.

France has convicted nearly 2,000 people for having participated in protests against police brutality and racial profiling in late June.

The country witnessed weeks of nationwide protests and social unrest after a police officer shot dead a 17-year-old boy of Algerian origin during a traffic stop on June 27.

Police contained the disturbances through the deployment of virtually 45,000 security forces and armored vehicles into the streets. Hundreds of people were arrested.

Justice Minister Eric Dupond-Moretti said on Tuesday that out of 2,107 people tried, 1,989 had been found guilty and 1,789 had received prison sentences.

"I called on magistrates to be firm and they responded," Dupond-Moretti said. "It was a question of restoring law and order." 

He said 20 judicial facilities had been vandalized in four nights of clashes, costing the taxpayer five million euros.

Similar protests rocked France when two boys of African origin died in a police chase in 2005. Some 6,000 people were arrested back then.

That outbreak of unrest exposed racism and police brutality experienced by many Muslims and immigrants in the European society.

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