Mass tribute to decapitated teacher (Brussels)

In the French capital Paris, thousands of people have gathered to pay tribute to Samuel Paty, the history teacher who was beheaded on Friday in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine (Yvelines)

Thousands of people gathered today at the Place de la République in Paris to commemorate terrorist victim Samuel Paty. The man, a history teacher, was beheaded.

Those present carry signs with inscriptions such as “no to totalitarianism” and “I am a teacher.” Slogans can also be heard such as ‘je suis Samuel’ (analogous to ‘Je suis Charlie’, ed.) And ‘freedom of speech, freedom of education’. Various political figures are present, such as French Prime Minister Jean Castex, Mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo and Jean-Luc Mélenchon, the leader of the left-wing populist party La France Insoumise.

Symbolic location

The Place de la Republique, in the east of Paris, has been a symbolic location since the attack on the editorial staff of the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo. Then people also gathered in the square to commemorate the victims, and it has been an important location for commemorating terror victims ever since.

The Charlie Hebdo editorial team, together with the NGO SOS Racism and teachers’ associations, called for the demonstrations. Support events are expected across the country on Sunday.

Dozens of French people also gathered at the French embassy in Brussels to express their support for Paty’s family. This is a message of unity. We take a stand against fanaticism, intolerance and hatred and we work hard for the right to freedom of the press and therefore also caricatures’, says initiator Boris Faure.

Mohammed-cartoons

Paty was beheaded by an 18-year-old Chechen on Friday after showing Mohammed cartoons in class. The perpetrator was shot by the police.

Eleven people have already been arrested in the case. It concerns various people from the perpetrator’s circle, including his parents, his grandfather and his younger brother, the father of a student from the teacher’s class and an Islamist militant.

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