Paris, France, Mar 28 – The family of a Chinese man shot dead by French police called for calm Wednesday following two nights of violent protests over his killing.
Liu Shaoyo was shot on Sunday by a police team that was called to his apartment in northeast Paris over a suspected domestic dispute.
The police said the officer who fired the shots acted in self-defence after the 56-year-old father of five attacked another officer with a knife.
His family has denied that version of events, saying the shooting — which drew an official complaint from China — was unprovoked and that the victim had been “trimming fish with a pair of scissors” when the police burst in.
On Tuesday night, around 400 members of the Asian community and supporters of anti-racism groups protested for a second night outside a police station in the city’s 19th district, chanting “police murderers” and “injustice”.
Ten people were arrested for throwing projectiles at the police. On Monday night, 35 people were arrested for violent acts during a similar protest.
At a press conference on Wednesday, the victim’s eldest daughter said the family were still trying to come to terms with the killing.
“We still do not understand why the police shot our father,” said the visibly distraught 26-year-old, who was flanked by her siblings. She did not give her name.
The family’s lawyer Francois Ormillien said the family had called the meeting “to launch an appeal for calm”.
“We know this investigation has caused considerable turmoil,” he said.
In a rare move reflecting the shock in China over the shooting, the government in Beijing said Tuesday it had filed an official complaint to France.
China called on Paris to “guarantee the safety and legal rights and interests of Chinese citizens in France and to treat the reaction of Chinese people to this incident in a rational way,” a foreign ministry spokeswoman said.
French Interior Minister Matthias Fekl said the police had his “full support”.
– Police accused of brutality –
The Chinese community in Paris is estimated at between 200,000 and 300,000. Many of the first-generation Chinese nationals who live in the French capital arrived in the 1980s and work in the textile industry.
French police have repeatedly come under fire for alleged brutality during operations in poor parts of Paris and surrounding suburbs.
In a case that caused widespread outrage, a black youth worker was hospitalised in February with severe anal injuries after being allegedly sodomised with a police baton.
The incident in the gritty northern suburb of Aulnay-sous-Bois triggered several nights of rioting on housing estates around the city.