A fresco in Stains (Seine-Saint-Denis, near Paris) honouring George Floyd and Adama Traoré was vandalised in the night of Saturday to Sunday, a source at the Préfecture reported on Sunday.
On Sunday morning, the police took note of the damage done to the fresco, according to the source.
The fresco depicts, on a blue background enhanced by clouds, the faces of George Floyd, an African-American man who died from suffocation in late May when a white policeman knelt on his neck for almost 9 minutes, and Adama Traoré, who died in July 2016 after being arrested by gendarmes in the French town of Beaumont-sur-Oise.
The fresco has been the subject of controversy ever since it was painted by a collective of local artists in mid-June.
On 22 June, 200 members of the police protested outside the Prefecture of Bobigny in response to a call by the Alliance police union to come out against the text written under the men’s faces: “against racism and police violence.”
At the same, in Stains, 150 people assembled in front of the fresco in response to a call by the Comité Adama Traoré.
After receiving a delegation of police officials, the prefect of Seine-Saint-Denis had instructed the town’s mayor to modify the text.
Interior Minister Christophe Castaner went on Twitter the next day to support the “initiative” of the prefect, saying that the fresco “portrayed a shameful conflation between racism, violence and security forces.”
Mayor Azzédine Taïbi, noted that the prefect had instructed him to erase the word “police” from the fresco. “This injunction came from the Alliance police union,” he pointed out.
“I don’t see the sense of this baseless injunction,” added Taïbi, who told the French news agency AFP that he had asked his lawyer to study what could be done in response to the prefect’s request.
“If this fresco disappears, if one letter disappears, the Alliance police union will be solely responsible,” Assa Traoré, Adama’s sister, said in a video shared on social media networks.