MOBILIZATION – At the call of several teachers’ unions and Charlie Hebdo, several tens of thousands of people came to Place de la République, in Paris, but also throughout France, Sunday, October 18. So many people who celebrated Samuel Paty, teacher who died a martyr for freedom of expression.
– Maxence GEVIN
A poignant moment of silence. Gathered at Place de la République, the compact crowd fell silent for a moment. A moment full of emotions to pay tribute to Samuel Paty, this history professor coldly murdered in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine. At this moment of silence followed a vibrant round of applause. La Marseillaise then rose from the ranks of these people who responded en masse to the call of teachers’ unions, associations for the defense of freedom of expression and Charlie Hebdo. Among this crowd, people from all walks of life, from all religions, gathered to unite in unity. “Cut off heads! You’ll never kill the thought”, warns on her placard Roseline Signoret, designer of 59 years. Another member of the procession, Guigané, castigates a “heinous and dreadful act”. “This violence must not set in and become our daily life”, adds the one who is a socio-cultural mediator in Essonne.
“We are not afraid”
Several members of the government – Jean Castex at the head – and leaders of political parties, with the exception of the National Rally, also joined the mobilization. “We are not afraid. You will not divide us”, the Prime Minister also launched on social networks after the rally.
Among other political figures, we also find François Hollande, former President of the Republic with a mandate marked by the terrorist attacks, accompanied by his former Minister of the Interior Bernard Cazeneuve and Najat Vallaud-Belkacem. Not far from him, the environmental leader Yannick Jadot.
Poignant tributes throughout France
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A decapitated history teacher in the Paris region
Beyond Paris, tributes to Samuel Paty resounded throughout France, two days after his terrorist assassination by a young man of Chechen origin, finally shot dead by the police in the process. Because he had chosen to rely on a cartoon of Muhammad to debate freedom of expression, it is to these principles that the demonstrators, including many teachers, have shown their attachment by rallying in this cold afternoon.
In Lyon, 12,000 people gathered at Place Bellecour. In Lille, they were more than 1,500, according to media counts. In the procession, Frédérique, educational advisor in the capital of Flanders, and Audrey, teacher in Loos, confide their distress: “The teachers are alone. Society has forgotten that we were there for the values of the Republic. Our job is very difficult at the moment” , they tell The voice of the North). Across the country, demonstrators took to the streets to commemorate the memory of this professor who left too early (more than 3,500 people in Dijon, 3,000 in Strasbourg, 2,500 in Marseille etc …). All over France, this vibrant tribute resonated. Everywhere in France, this immense cry of unity resounded.
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