WORLD France to rally in solidarity, defiance after beheading of school teacher

WORLD

France to rally in solidarity, defiance after beheading of school teacher

AFP

17:13, October 18, 2020

Candles are lit up to commemorate victims of the terrorist attack against Charlie Hebdo in 2015 during a commemoration at the Place of the Republic in Paris, France, on Jan. 7, 2016. Photo: Xinhua

Rallies in dozens of cities across France were expected Sunday in a show of solidarity and defiance following the decapitation of a teacher outside his school for showing pupils cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed.

The beheading of history teacher Samuel Paty in a Paris suburb Friday has sparked outrage in France and memories of a wave of Islamist violence in 2015 sparked by caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed published by the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.

"It is absolutely important to show our mobilization and our solidarity, our national cohesion," education minister Jean-Michel Blanquer told France 2, calling on "everyone [to] support the teachers."

One rally was set to take place at the Place de la Republique in Paris, a traditional site of protest where around 1.5 million people demonstrated in 2015 following a deadly attack on Charle Hebdo's office by Islamist gunmen.

Rallies were also expected in Lyon, Toulouse, Strasbourg, Nantes, Marseille, Lille and Bordeaux.

Paty had been the target of online threats for showing the cartoons, with the father of one schoolgirl launching an online call for "mobilization" against him, France's anti-terror prosecutor Jean-Francois Ricard said.

The 18-year old suspect, named as Abdullakh A, was shot dead by police shortly after the attack.

The Russian Embassy in Paris on Saturday said the suspect's family had arrived in France from Chechnya when he was six and requested asylum.

The schoolgirl's father and a known Islamist militant are among 10 people arrested.

Ricard said the school received threats after the class in early October.

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