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35 arrests at protests over Paris police kill Chinese man

The scene in Paris's 19th arrondissement on Monday night Zeenat Hansrod/RFI

French police arrested 35 people after a demonstration by the Asian community over the killing of a Chinese man during a raid on his apartment, they announced Tuesday. Beijing has called on France to protect its nationals.

Paris police said about 150 "members of the Asian community" assembled outside a police station in the north of the city late Monday to protest at the fatal shooting of the Chinese man on Sunday night.

Clashes occurred and three officers were slightly injured.

A police vehicle and three private cars were damaged by a petrol bomb.

Three people were arrested for attacking a police officer or a police vehicle, six for throwing projectiles and 26 for participating in a group planning to commit violence.

"I saw a large number of young people throwing bottles at police vans, shouting angrily at them," RFI's Zeenat Hansrod, who witnessed the clashes, says. "They overturned a bottle bank and set fire to dustbins and anything inflammable, including a car."

They did not all appear to be Asian, Hansrod says. "They were very angry young people, mostly male."

Eyewitness video of violence between police and protesters

Conflicting accounts of man's death

Shaoyo Liu, 56, was killed when police were called to his flat in the area but accounts as to how events unfolded differ greatly.

Police were called to intervene in a domestic incident, sources say.

They claim the man attacked an officer with the knife as soon as the door opened and that a colleague opened fire, killing him.

The family's lawyer, Calvin Job, says they "totally dispute that version".

There was no domestic dispute and a neighbour called the police after hearing shouting.

The man was with his four children, aged 15-21, using a pair of scissors to prepare fish for cooking, according to the family.

 "Police forced the door open, pushing him back," Job said, adding that they "shot without warning".

Watchdog to meet family

Complaints of police brutality has sparked demonstrations recently following last month's alleged baton rape of a young black man.

A police watchdog was to interview the family on Tuesday afternoon.

The authorities offered to meet a delegation from the Asian community over the death, officials say, but were unable to find anyone to talk to.

Thousands of people of Chinese origin demonstrated in Aubervilliers, near the Paris area where Sunday's death took place, last September.

They accused the police of failing to protect them after the death of another Chinese man during a robbery.

Beijing calls for protection

China Tuesday urged France to protect the safety and rights of its citizens.

The French authorities must "guarantee the safety and legal rights and interests of Chinese citizens in France and [...] treat the reaction of Chinese people to this incident in a rational way," foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying told a regular press briefing, adding that the government had filed an official complaint over the events.

After learning of the incident, China "immediately ordered its embassy in France to activate an emergency response mechanism [and] made representations with the French side, asking them to get to the bottom of the incident," she said.

"Meanwhile, we hope that our citizens [...] in France can express their wishes and demands in a lawful and reasonable way."

Paris police have stepped up efforts to protect Chinese tourists, who were targeted by pickpockets and other criminals in the city centre.