Thousands attend memorial service for decapitated teacher in Paris

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Thousands of people came to a memorial for the stabbed and decapitated teacher Samuel Paty in Paris on Sunday. The meeting was organized in the Place de République in the French capital. Paty was killed on Friday in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, a suburb northwest of Paris.

French Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer was present at the commemoration, as well as other politicians. French President Emmanuel Macron has announced an official commemoration in Paris, which will take place late in the afternoon on Wednesday.

An eighteen-year-old man of Chechen descent killed history teacher Paty on Friday after the teacher showed caricatures of the prophet Mohammed during a lesson on freedom of expression. During the commemoration Sunday, people had brought plates with texts such as ‘Je suis Samuel’ (‘I am Samuel’) and ‘Je suis prof’ (‘I am a teacher’).

These signs refer to ‘Je suis Charlie’, the slogan used to support the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo, whose editorial staff fell victim to a terrorist attack in Paris in 2015. Twelve people lost their lives. The perpetrators committed this attack because the magazine had published caricatures of Mohammed. Charlie Hebdo has also called for a gathering this weekend in memory of Samuel Paty.

French authorities arrested an eleventh suspect for the incident on Sunday. It is not yet known what this person has to do with the case. Family members of the perpetrator, as well as parents of students of Paty, were already arrested.

Despite the measures against the corona virus, it was busy on the Place de la République in Paris on Sunday. Most protesters would wear a face mask. (Photo: ANP)

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