Minutes of applause in memory of the brutally murdered teacher: Tens of thousands in France remembered the teacher who was murdered for alleged terrorist motives with a huge wave of solidarity and demonstrated for freedom of speech.
Despite Corona, thousands gathered on the Place de la République in Paris on Sunday afternoon. ‘You don’t scare us. We are not afraid, ”wrote Prime Minister Jean Castex, who was also present at the meeting. Investigators believe the teacher was beheaded by an 18-year-old for showing caricatures of the prophet Mohammed in class.
The brutal murder of the 47-year-old history teacher had caused great horror throughout France. Countless people took to the streets in cities such as Marseille or Bordeaux. Prosecutor Jean-François Ricard described last weekend that the teacher wanted to bring his students closer to the subject of freedom of expression in early October. The reason was the discussion about the republication of Mohammed caricatures in the satirical magazine “Charlie Hebdo”.
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The perpetrator, who was born in Moscow in 2002 and has Russian-Chechen roots, according to the prosecution, was shot by police shortly after the crime. He previously published a photo of the victim and wrote that he had humiliated the Prophet.
Gatherings of more than 1000 people are actually prohibited
The Place de la République in Paris was packed with people on Sunday afternoon. At 3 p.m. sharp, people clapped for minutes to commemorate the murdered Samuel Paty. The brutal attack hits France in the middle of the second corona wave, which hit the country hard.
The highest corona warning level applies in Paris, meetings of more than 1000 people are actually prohibited here – but according to the media, the demo would still have been approved by the authorities.
“I am here to defend freedom of speech and education,” said 61-year-old Muriel. She is a teacher, but also a citizen. In her hand she holds a sign with the text “Je suis enseignant.e” – in German: “I am a teacher”. Like many others, this reminded her of the slogan “Je suis Charlie”. It marked the time after the devastating assassination attempt on the editorial staff of “Charlie Hebdo” in 2015. The satirical newspaper had joined the call to demonstrate in Paris.
A young man named Valentin holds up a sign with the Mohammed cartoons in the satirical magazine. “When a teacher is attacked, the republic is attacked,” he says. The Place de la République in the east of Paris is a symbolic place – after the terror series in January 2015, which included the attack on “Charlie Hebdo”, people from all over France commemorated the victims there. Since then, the square has become a central place of sympathy after terrorist attacks.
French President Emmanuel Macron spoke of an Islamist terrorist act shortly after the crime. A defense council would meet under his chairmanship on Sunday. On Wednesday, France wants to commemorate the brutally killed teacher with a national memorial service.
Also the father of a schoolgirl in police custody
The Muslim community also responded to the brutal act. Nothing justifies the murder of a person, according to the Islamic umbrella organization French Council of Muslim Cults.
The teacher was beheaded on Friday afternoon in the Parisian suburb of Conflans-Sainte-Honorine by his attacker near his school. Several people from the perpetrator’s vicinity were still in custody on Sunday.
The father of a schoolgirl who mobilized herself against the teacher via the internet was also taken into custody by the police. He had distributed a video and publicly scolded the teacher over the cartoons, prosecutor Ricard said. The public prosecutor has not yet established a connection between this father and the attacker.
In France, however, there is criticism for not doing anything sooner – after all, there have been threats against the teacher and the school since the beginning of the month.
Just a few weeks ago, a man brutally attacked two people with a knife in front of the former “Charlie Hebdo” editorial building. He also provided the motif of Mohammed cartoons that the magazine had published. The attacker actually aimed at the editorial office, but did not know that it had since moved to a secret location. (dpa)