Thousands of people gathered in and around Place de la République in Paris, some holding up signs showing the front page of Charlie Hebdo – a satirical magazine targeted by extremists after showing caricatures of the Prophet – while others held up signs saying: “No to Islamization” and “Nazislamization cuts our throats”.
The mayoress of Paris Anne Hidalgo, Prime Minister Jean Castex and other politicians were present at the protests.
A specialist teacher who works in the Paris region told CNN that she joined the protest because she was shocked by the murder.
“We must all live together and learn to live together, and everyone must respect each other’s faith,” she said.
Killer took the credit, says the DA
Abdoullakh Abouyezidovich, an 18-year-old Chechen refugee, took credit for the beheading on Friday of Samuel Paty, 47, who taught history and geography at the Collège du Bois d’Aulne. Police killed the teenager on Friday afternoon in Éragny, the same Paris suburb where Paty’s body was found.
Paty had taught a free speech class, in which he used cartoons of the prophet taken from Charlie Hebdo, sparking controversy in the weeks leading up to his death, authorities said.
Before police shot him down on Friday, Abouyezidovich said on Twitter that he executed one of French President Emmanuel Macron’s “hell dogs” who belittled the revered prophet, the anti-terrorist prosecutor said Jean-François Ricard.
Abouyezidovich approached students outside the school, located in the Paris suburb of Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, asking them to report Paty before attacking the teacher on the way home, Ricard said.
Abouyididovich, who was not known to intelligence, lived in Evreux, more than an hour’s drive from the scene of the attack, the prosecutor said. It was not clear whether Abouyezidovich had attended the Alley Wood College.
Paty had organized a lesson around Charlie Hebdo cartoons, Ricard said. Nordine Chaouadi, a parent of one of the school’s students, told Agence France-Presse that Paty had taken steps to avoid offending young Muslims in her class.
“It was just to preserve them. It was out of sheer kindness because he had to show a caricature of the prophet of Islam and just said to the Muslim children, “Get out, I don’t want this to hurt you”. That’s what my son told me, ”he said.
Several people arrested
After a Danish newspaper controversially published the cartoons in 2005, Charlie Hebdo republished them the following year.
In 2015, 17 people were killed in a terrorist attack that started at the Charlie Hebdo offices in Paris and continued for three days. Paty’s murder came as 14 people accused of involvement in the attacks are on trial. Legal proceedings began in Paris last month and Charlie Hebdo has said it will repost the cartoons.
On October 7, the father of one of Paty’s students called for Paty’s dismissal on Facebook. He also filed a complaint and posted a YouTube video criticizing the teacher. Paty responded with a defamation complaint, Ricard said.
Police detained 11 people for questioning. Included are the father who complained about Paty and the man’s sister-in-law, who is suspected of having “joined the Organization of the Islamic State in 2014 in Syria and, as such, ‘subject of a search warrant by an anti-terrorism investigation. judge, ”said the prosecutor.
Abouyezidovich’s parents, grandfather and brother were also arrested, said a French judicial source.
French Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer said Paty was assassinated “for teaching a class that had to do with one of the pillars of democracy – freedom of speech”.
“Samuel Paty embodied the noblest asset of our Republic: its schools. He was cowardly murdered by enemies of freedom. We will be united, firm and resolute, ”Blanquer wrote in a tweet.
Macron said Paty was “killed for teaching students about free speech, the freedom to believe and not to believe.”
CNN’s Pierre Bairin, Eva Tapiero, Martin Goillandeau and Ivana Kottasovà contributed to this report.