In an interview with private radio RMC, the president of France’s largest employers’ union, MEDEF, described the international reaction to Emmanuel Macron’s comments as “blackmail”.
“We must put our principles before the possibility of developing our activity,” said Geoffroy Roux de Bezieu, urging companies not to give in to the boycott of French products.
His comments came after a recent announcement by Macron about his controversial plans to crack down on what he has dubbed “Islamist separatism” in France.
Macron’s remarks sparked huge controversy and a boycott of French products, including dairy and cosmetics, by several Muslim countries, including Qatar, Jordan, Kuwait, Iran, Turkey and Pakistan. Protests have also taken place with posters of the Macron fire in some cases.
The French president made these statements following the recent murder of Professor Samuel Paty outside Paris.
Samuel Paty, a 47-year-old father who taught history and geography at the Collège du Bois-d’Aulne in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, was brutally murdered by Abdullakh Anzorov, an 18-year-old man of Chechen origin.
The teacher, during one of his free speech classes, had shown the controversial cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad, according to reports. Anzorov was killed by the police as a result of the attack. An investigation is underway.
The murder also sparked a massive police investigation involving more than 80 investigations and several suspects were questioned and taken into custody.
Last Thursday, Macron paid tribute to Paty in Paris, alongside senior French officials. In his speech, Macron said Paty’s death was an act of “gratuitous terrorism”.
Macron also pledged that France would continue to allow cartoons of the Muslim prophet Muhammad that had sparked an uproar among Muslims around the world.
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