PARIS (AP) — Crowds rallied Sunday in the French capital to urge an end to violence against the Asian community, after the beating death of a Chinese tailor called new attention to ethnic tensions in Paris suburbs.
The prime minister tweeted his support for the march, organized by anti-racism and Chinese community groups calling for better police protection. Local officials and representatives of the governing Socialist Party also took part.
The spark for the protest was the death of Chaolin Zhangh last month in the Paris suburb of Aubervilliers after a robbery attempt. The victim’s lawyer says the attack was ethnically motivated, and the area’s Chinese immigrant community says it is routinely targeted by armed robbers and violence.
Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve met with Zhangh’s family and the mayor of Aubervilliers, home to a large Chinese community and textile industry, and promised better security.
Three teenagers — two of them minors — have been arrested and handed preliminary charges in the death, the regional prosecutor’s office said. They haven’t been identified.
The incident came after years of simmering tensions in working class French suburbs with large populations with immigrant roots. Anti-racism group MRAP warned in a statement about Zhangh’s death that minorities are being “artificially set against each other, which camouflages a social malaise that they are all victims of.”
Prime Minister Manuel Valls tweeted Sunday “total support for our compatriots of Asian origin. Violence targeting them is intolerable.”