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‘France will not give up religious cartoons’ declared Macron in homage to murdered teacher

France will not give up cartoons, President Emmanuel Macron said on Wednesday evening in a ceremony dedicated to the memory of teacher Samuel Paty, beheaded for showing caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed to pupils in a lesson on free speech.

'France will not give up religious cartoons' declared Macron in homage to murdered teacher
French President Emmanuel Macron, centre, paid his respects in front of the coffin of Samuel Paty inside the Sorbonne University's courtyard in Paris on October 21st. Photo: AFP

“We will not give up cartoons,” Macron told a solemn ceremony at the Sorbonne university attended by the family of the murdered teacher.

The president said Paty was slain by “cowards” for representing the secular, democratic values of the French Republic.

Paty's coffin stood in the centre of the university courtyard, adorned with French flags, as pupils, a friend, and a fellow history teacher paid moving tributes to the 47-year-old father of one.

The ceremony started with the song “One” by Irish rock band U2 played over loudspeakers at the Paty family's request, and ended with applause.

Macon honoured Paty for his devotion to education, a pillar in French society, the President said. Photo: AFP

Paty was killed on his way home from work after school last Friday by 18-year-old Chechnya-born Abdullakh Anzorov, who published an image of the teacher's severed head on Twitter before he was himself shot dead by police.

Paty became the subject of an online hate campaign after he showed cartoons of the Prophet to pupils in a civics class to elicit debate on freedom of expression.

The same images had unleashed a bloody assault by Islamist gunmen on the offices of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo five years ago in which 12 people, including cartoonists, were killed.

To honour Paty's memory, local authorities in Toulouse and Montpellier hung huge covers of the magazine from several hotels in their cities. 

 

Macron said Paty was killed “because he incarnated the Republic.”

Added the president: “He was killed because Islamists want our future,” while vowing “they will never have it.”

Member comments

  1. Islamist bastards come here to France and want to change our way of life. It’s sickening.
    If they don’t like us, or like our ways, then why don’t they leave? We don’t want them here!

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CRIME

French court convicts 8 for stealing Banksy from Paris terror attack site

A French court on Thursday convicted eight men for the theft and handling of a Banksy painting paying homage to the victims of the 2015 attack on the Bataclan concert hall in Paris.

French court convicts 8 for stealing Banksy from Paris terror attack site

Three men in their 30s who admitted to the 2019 theft were given prison sentences, one of four years and two of three, although they will be able to serve them wearing electronic tracking bracelets rather than behind bars.

Another man, a 41-year-old millionaire lottery winner and street art fan accused of being the mastermind of the heist, was given three years in jail for handling stolen goods after judges found the main allegation unproven. His sentence will also be served with a bracelet.

Elsewhere in the capital, the defence was making its final arguments in the trial of the surviving suspects in the 2015 Paris attacks themselves, with a verdict expected on June 29.

‘Acted like vultures’ 

British street artist Banksy painted his “sad girl” stencil on the metal door of the Bataclan in memory of the 90 people killed there on November 13th, 2015.

A white van with concealed number-plates was seen stopping on January 26, 2019 in an alleyway running alongside the central Paris music venue.

Many concertgoers fled via the same alley when the Bataclan became the focal point of France’s worst ever attacks since World War II, as Islamic State group jihadists killed 130 people at a string of sites across the capital.

On the morning of the theft, three masked men climbed out of the van, cut the hinges with angle grinders powered by a generator and left within 10 minutes, in what an investigating judge called a “meticulously prepared” heist.

Prosecutor Valerie Cadignan told the court earlier this month that the perpetrators had not sought to debase the memory of the attack victims, but “being aware of the priceless value of the door were looking to make a profit”.

She said the thieves “acted like vultures, like people who steal objects without any respect for what they might represent”.

During the trial, Bataclan staff said the theft sparked “deep indignation”, adding that the painted door was a “symbol of remembrance that belongs to everyone, locals, Parisians, citizens of the world”.

Investigators pieced together the door’s route across France and into Italy, where it was found in June 2020 on a farm in Sant’Omero, near the Adriatic coast.

Three men involved in transporting the door were each jailed for 10 months, while a 58-year-old Italian man who owns a hotel where it was temporarily stored received a six-month suspended sentence.

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