Thousands of people demonstrated in the city center Paris, French, in a demonstration of solidarity against beheading of a teacher because showing cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad SAW to his students. French Prime Minister (PM) Jean Castex said France was not afraid of the beheading.
As reported by the news agency AFP, Sunday (18/10/2020), protesters at Place de la Republique held high posters stating: “No to totalitarianism of thought” and “I am a teacher” in memory of slain colleague Samuel Paty.
“You don’t scare us. We are not afraid. You will not divide us. We are France!” tweeted French PM Jean Castex, who was among those gathered at the site of the historic protest.
Castex was accompanied by Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer, Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, junior Interior Minister Marlene Schiappa who said she was there “to support teachers, secularism, freedom of expression”.
Some chanted “I am Samuel”, echoing the chants of “I am Charlie”, which was voiced around the world after gunmen killed 12 people over the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in 2015.
Among thundering applause, others read: “Freedom of expression, freedom to teach.”
“I am here as a teacher, as a mother, as a French woman and as a republican,” said Virginie, a participant.
The Charlie Hebdo attacks in 2015 sparked a wave of violence and forced France to discuss nationally about the place of Islam in secular society.
After the massacre in the magazine, some 1.5 million people gathered at the same Place de la Republique to support freedom of expression.