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Statement on racist police killings in France

We call for solidarity and a confluence of social movements domestically and internationally to resist police violence and systemic racism.

Shaista Aziz and Seema Syeda, Another Europe Is Possible

This week the world witnessed the brutal racist killing of Nahel M by French police, shot in the head during a traffic stop. This is not the first such killing of a child in France by police. Over the decades, hundreds of police killings have taken place, the majority of the victims are working class and of Black or Arab heritage. 

France has a long and deep history of structural racism and Islamophobia, rooted in colonial violence; this coloniality continues today. The French state has effectively declared war against the Muslim and racialised population, mostly living in the so-called ‘banlieues’, creating further marginalisation of working class people and communities of colour. 

The French police alliance’ declaration describing this population as ‘savage hordes’ and ‘vermin’ against whom they were ‘at war’ nakedly reveals the orientalist and colonial nature of a country and society that has failed to reckon with its own culpability in a genocidal history. The French state now continues its reign of terror against racialised populations particularly those of Black and Muslim heritage, having arrested over 1300 people in one night. France is home to Europe’s largest multiracial Muslim population and has one of the youngest populations in Europe, overwhelmingly on the frontline of racist and increasingly militarised policing and discriminatory state policies. 

At Another Europe, we have reported with Yasser Louati and Seema Syeda the different facets of the French state and society’s systemic racism and Islamophobia. With our National Committee member Shaista Aziz and in a second report, we  raised awareness about similar Islamophobic trends in the UK and Germany, part of the mainstreaming of extreme right discourse, which had a strong influence on the Brexit project and anti-migrant sentiment in the U.K.

All of the above-mentioned countries continue to  deny or minimise the legacy of violent colonial rule and the continuing dehumanisation of racialised populations, be they internal to the territorial state, refugees at the borders, or populations to be colonised, bombed, and exploited for cheap labour and resources.

The deaths of hundreds of refugees mainly from Pakistan and Afghanistan in the recent atrocity in Greek waters is part of this systematic Europe-wide racism; a militarised system that inflicts violence on racialised populations physically, materially, ideologically and emotionally. It is not just the policing system that maintains this institutional violence, the media, civil society and judicial system upholds racialised and class inequalities alongside political parties across the spectrum and other entities. We call for a true reckoning and dismantling of this global colonial system. 

We call for solidarity and a confluence of social movements domestically and internationally to resist police violence and systemic racism. We stand with the resistance, with the ‘banlieues’, and with the families and children murdered by Europe’s violent regime.

1st July 2023