Vigils held in France for slain teacher

Vigils held in France for slain teacher

French Prime Minister Jean Castex and Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo were among the thousands of demonstrators in Paris on Sunday.

People gather on Republique square during the demonstration. The teacher just showed caricatures from Charlie Hebdo as part of a history lesson on freedom of expression.

We will use your email address only for sending you newsletters. "So whatever our political, union or other differences, we must show unity and that we are not afraid in the face of the enemies of the Republic", Minister of National Education Jean Michel Blanquer told reporters in Paris rally. "We are France!" Castex tweeted later.

The issue is particularly sensitive in France because of the famous publishing of cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad by satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.

The killing came weeks after President Emmanuel Macron expressed concerns about what he calls "Islamist separatism".

According to a police source, witnesses had heard the knifeman shout "Allahu Akbar" ("God is Greatest ") as he attacked the teacher, Reuters reported.

The organisation, which monitors anti-Muslim hate crime in France, has accused the minister of slander after he claimed the group was "obviously" involved in Friday's attack.

Ministers in France's defence council also agreed to step up security at schools when they return after half term.

A silent rally was planned yesterday evening, as well as a ceremony today at the Sorbonne attended by Mr Macron. "Things have to change".

Paty's death occurred at the hands of an 18-year-old Moscow-born Chechen refugee, who was shot dead by police after the incident. The father quoted his 13-year-old daughter as saying that Paty had asked Muslims to leave the classroom - a version that was contested by the teacher himself, according to press reports. Muslims believe that any depiction of the prophet is blasphemous.

The mosque in a densely-populated suburb northeast of Paris had published a video on its Facebook page days before Friday's gruesome murder, railing against Paty's choice of material for a class discussion on freedom of expression, said a source close to the investigation. Five more were detained overnight, including the father of a pupil at Paty's school and an acquaintance of the pupil's father known to the intelligence services, the anti-terrorism prosecutor said.

Four students in France have been detained in connection with the attack on Paty.

Ricard did not say if the assailant had any links to the school or had acted independently in response to the online campaign.

The Russian embassy in Paris said the suspect was Abdullakh Anzorov, whose family had arrived in France when he was six and requested asylum.

French protesters took to the streets this weekend in memory of Paty, with signs referencing the legacy of the Charlie Hebdo attack. A trial is now underway over the killing of 12 people by Islamist extremists at the magazine's offices in 2015.

In it, he calls Paty a thug and accuses the teacher of singling out Muslim students.

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