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June 2 BLM protest in Paris
June 2 BLM protest in Paris
Hannah Steinkopf-Frank

As more than 20,000 protesters in Paris reminded us last night, police violence against people of color is a global issue. Demonstrations have been held in cities across the world, including London, Auckland, and Berlin to condemn the killing of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, at the hands of police in Minneapolis. There is something more than just solidarity with American victims in the outpourings, even though the notorious tough police tactics, as well as historical racism, feed the problem in the United States. There are cases of unarmed people killed at the hands of police in other countries, and often there is also race and history involved


France: The Paris protests Tuesday night centered around the 2016 death of 24-year-old construction worker Adama Traoré in police custody.

  • Expert opinions have been conflicted around the police's role in his death. His family, who have been at the forefront of the Truth for Adama Movement, recently presented evidence that asphyxiation caused by excessive police force killed him.
  • Large-scale anti-police demonstrations took place in France in 2005, after two teenagers, one black and one Arab, were killed while trying to escape police custody.
  • "In France, it is the scars of slavery, the scars of colonialism that we suffer from, that result in these barbaric acts," actor Greg Germain told French public TV at the Paris protest. "I beg the French State: Let this be a lesson for us."


Belgium: A few weeks ago in Brussels, Adil a 19-year-old of Moroccan descent, died after being struck by a police vehicle.

  • Last year, a similar incident left a 17-year-old named Mehdi Bouda dead, launching the "justice for Mehdi" movement on social media.
  • In a 2018 study by Amnesty International, half of Belgian police officers interviewed said there was a problem with ethnic profiling and dubious practices around identity stops.
  • Police also often take or break bystander's phones to prevent them from filming.​

March for Mehdi Bouda in Brussels in October — Photo: Hugo Monnier via Instagram

Brazil: The latest in a long history of police killings, a 14-year-old boy died after being shot in the back during a botched drug arrest operation in the Rio de Janeiro area. Over the weekend, protestors marched in the country's favelas against unprecedented police violence:

  • João Pedro Matos, who dreamed of being a lawyer, is one of the thousands of black Brazilians who have been killed by police.
  • Between 2017 and 2018 in Brazil, more than 75% of those who died in police interactions were black.
  • In April, Rio state police killed 177 people, the second highest number recorded since tallying started more than 20 years ago.
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Society

How India’s Women Are Fighting Air Pollution — And The Patriarchy

India is one of the world's worst countries for air pollution, with women more likely to be affected by the problem than men. Now, experts and activists are fighting to reframe pollution as a gendered health crisis.

A woman walking through dense fog in New Delhi

*Saumya Kalia

MUMBAI In New Delhi, a city that has topped urban air-pollution charts in recent years, Shakuntala describes a discomfort that has become too familiar. Surrounded by bricks and austere buildings, she tells an interviewer: "The eyes burn and it becomes difficult to breathe". She is referring to the noxious fumes she routinely breathes as a construction worker.

Like Shakuntala, women’s experiences of polluted air fill every corner of their lives – inside homes, in parks and markets, on the way to work. Ambient air in most districts in India has never been worse than it is today. As many as 1.67 million people in the country die prematurely due to polluted air. It is India’s second largest health risk after malnutrition.

This risk of exposure to air pollution is compounded for women. Their experiences of toxic air are more frequent and often more hazardous. Yet “policies around air quality have not yet adequately taken into account gender or other factors that might influence people’s health,” Pallavi Pant, a senior scientist at the Health Effects Institute, a nonprofit in the U.S., told The Wire Science.

“It’s unacceptable that the biggest burden [rests on] those who can least bear it,” Sherebanu Frosh, an activist, added. People like her are building a unique resistance within India.

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