FRANCE. Paris: Thousands of people rallied across Paris and in other parts of France on Monday. The protests were against the beheading of a French teacher in Paris.
Samuel Paty was decapitated for showing caricatures of Prophet Muhammad in his class.
Protests across Paris
Several demonstrators on the Place de la Republique held posters which said, “No to the totalitarianism of thought” and “I am a teacher” in memory of the murdered Samuel Paty.
Around 12,000 people rallied in Lyon in eastern France, and 5,000 in Toulouse. Hundreds more assembled in Nice on the south coast. There were protest marches in Strasbourg, in Lille in the north, and the southern cities of Marseille and Montpellier as well.
The assault took place on the outskirts of Paris at around 5 pm (1500 GMT) near a school in Conflans Saint- Honorine, a western suburb of the capital.
The assailant was shot dead by French police as they were trying to arrest him. Meanwhile, French anti-terror prosecutors are investigating the case. Prosecutors said they were treating the incident as “a murder linked to a terrorist organisation” and related to a “criminal association with terrorists”.
According to the statement given by the school, Paty had given Muslim children the option to leave the classrooms before he showed the cartoons. Meanwhile, the French defence council has decided to increase security at schools.
The French police have detained four students on Monday. The police believe that the students may have helped identify Paty to his killer in exchange for money.
Support from the French government
Meanwhile, French Prime Minister, Jean Castex joined the protest in Paris. Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer, Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, and Junior Interior Minister Marlene Schiappa also joined the protest in Paris. In his recent tweet, Castex said, “You do not scare us. We are not afraid. You will not divide us. We are France!”
French President Emmanuel Macron called the incident an “Islamist attack”, and urged the citizens to stand up against extremism.
Interestingly, France has the highest Muslim population in Western Europe. Therefore, the French government is working on a bill to address Islamist radicalism in the country.