PARIS: China on Tuesday called on France to protect its citizens two days after police in Paris killed a Chinese father of five, sparking violent protests in which 35 people were arrested.
Hundreds of members of the Asian community and supporters of anti-racism groups gathered outside a police station in the northeast of the capital for the second night on Tuesday, to protest against the killing.
The protesters, mostly Chinese, chanted “police murderers” and “injustice” as they waved banners and placed candles and flowers on the ground.
During Monday’s demonstration clashes broke out, police said.
The incident happened on Sunday night when police shot and killed a 56-year-old Chinese man, named as Shaoyo Liu.
Three officers were slightly injured in the confrontation and one police vehicle was damaged by an incendiary device.
A police source told AFP that officers were called to his house after reports of a domestic dispute.
The source said the man attacked the officer with a knife “as soon as the door opened,” injuring him.
A police colleague then opened fire, killing the Chinese man, authorities said.
Lawyer Calvin Job said the family of the dead man “totally disputes this version of events.”
“He didn’t injure anyone,” Job said, adding that the man had been “trimming fish with a pair of scissors” when the police came to the door.
As tempers frayed between Paris and Beijing, the Chinese foreign ministry said it had filed an official complaint to France over the events in the French capital.
Beijing calls 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,” Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a press briefing.
“Meanwhile, we hope that our citizens… in France can express their wishes and demands in a lawful and reasonable way,” she added.
Newly appointed French Interior Minister Matthias Fekl condemned the violence at the protest and said the security forces had his “full support.”
He called for calm “to allow the judicial process under way to proceed in an orderly fashion.”
The victim’s family insist that there was no domestic dispute and a neighbor had called the police after hearing shouting.
“Police forced open the door of the apartment, pushing him back,” Job said. The man did not rush towards the officers, and the police “shot without warning,” he said.
‘Hiding the truth’
Lulu Zen, 27, who said he was the victim’s nephew, said the family believed the police were “hiding the truth.”
“My cousins saw their father killed by policemen,” he said.
However, a source close to the investigation said the man’s children, four of whom were in the apartment at the time, had not seen the shooting.
The source said the police inspectorate had interviewed all of the family, including the victim’s wife, who was not present at the time he was killed.
Police prefect Michel Cadot meanwhile was receiving a Chinese community delegation.
Estimates put the size of the Chinese community in Paris at between 200,000 and 300,000. Many of the first-generation Chinese nationals who live in the French capital came here in the 1980s and many work in the textile industry.
French police have come under fire for suspected violence in recent months following the highly publicised case of a black youth worker allegedly sodomized with a police baton.
Several demonstrations have been staged since the February 2 incident involving the 22-year-old.