“We’re all Samuel. We’re academics too. And we do not need to be killed only for doing our job,” a protester mentioned on Sunday as 1000’s gathered in Place de République in Paris, in solidarity with Samuel Paty, the trainer who was beheaded in a northwestern Paris suburb on Friday.
A sea of banners studying #jesuisprof (I’m a trainer), #jesuissamuel (I’m Samuel) stuffed Place de Republique within the coronary heart of Paris on a sunny Sunday afternoon.
“We’re all Samuel. We’re academics too. And we don’t need to be killed only for doing our job,” mentioned Hélène, who got here to the rally together with her colleague Marie. “We’ve travelled in from the suburbs. The place we stay will not be very totally different from the place Samuel lived. We refuse to be afraid to go to work.”
The beheading of historical past and civics trainer Samuel Paty in a Paris suburb on Friday sparked outrage throughout France and evoked reminiscences of the lethal wave of Islamist violence in 2015 that started after caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed have been printed by the satirical journal Charlie Hebdo.
“A trainer was killed for doing his job,” mentioned Dominique Sopo, president of SOS Racisme, talking out to a decidedly nonetheless and solemn crowd packed into each nook of this enormous sq..
Sopo was the primary of a variety of audio system, and was adopted by leaders from academics’ and college students’ unions. Their message was united. “Shock and unhappiness is what we really feel. This behaviour can’t be accepted in France, or anyplace.”
Greater than 1.5 million folks gathered in Place de République in 2015 to protest the lethal assault on the journal’s workplace and the hashtag #jesuisCharlie (I’m Charlie) went viral world wide.
Rallies honouring Paty have been additionally held in different cities throughout France on Sunday, together with in Lyon, Toulouse, Strasbourg, Marseille and Bourdeaux.
“It enraged me. I felt first shock after which rage. And naturally unhappiness. How will we stay now?” requested Yasmina from east of Paris, talking with FRANCE 24. “The federal government should act now. This can’t proceed. Paty taught the message of the republic, he taught his college students to know the that means of liberty. He was killed for that.”
“I at all times purchase Charlie Hebdo, we will need to have freedom of expression,” mentioned Marie-Christine, one other trainer. “However I gained’t discuss this assault with my college students as a result of I do know they could make remarks, provocations.”
The gang comprised a mixture of older folks and households. There was some cheering, some applauding, some crying and a few transferring singing, as a small group started singing “Adieu Monsieur Le Professeur” and it gently rippled out throughout the gang, an ode to a departed trainer. There was no aggression, solely a real sense of unhappiness and frustration.
When Sopo known as for a minute’s silence, it prolonged gone 60 seconds. Nobody was keen to interrupt this second of respect to Paty. The silence was adopted by deafening applause.
“He (Paty) might have been one in every of my college students, I utterly determine with him,” mentioned Natalie, who trains younger academics. “I used to be additionally right here in 2015 after the Charlie Hebdo assaults, however right this moment there sadly appears to be much less folks. If I hadn’t come, I wouldn’t have been ready to take a look at myself within the mirror, I needed to come this afternoon. It is a trainer who was solely doing his job.”
Some lay the duty on the French authorities. “The federal government has been too timid on the difficulty of Islamism. It’s an issue that they discover laborious to just accept, however it’s a must to name it as it’s. You may’t combine all the pieces up. You may’t use faith to hold out assaults,” mentioned William, a pensioner.
“Everybody has gathered right here right this moment to easily be collectively. This act was each unbelievable and utterly plausible. We have been shocked and didn’t anticipate it and but it was virtually inevitable,” Marc, a sound engineer, advised FRANCE 24.
“There isn’t a easy reply, the federal government can’t simply react to at least one occasion, they need to actually make profound adjustments. They need to act now. They can’t wait for a lot of occasions like final Friday,” he added.
Tribute to murdered French trainer: ‘Democracy is being attacked by fanatics’
Others felt it was a name to talk up about their duty as academics, that they needed to proceed to show and be free to show as crucial. “As a kindergarten trainer, I got here right here to defend my mission to coach, to sharpen the important considering expertise of my pupils,” mentioned Elodie. “This makes me need to train much more. There will likely be a earlier than and after this horrible occasion.”
“This was a barbaric and brutal act attacking liberty. And liberty is likely one of the cornerstones of French identification. Liberté, fraternité, egalité: They make us who we’re as French folks. We can’t settle for them to be challenged on this means,” mentioned Sara, a fellow trainer, who travelled in for the rally from Fontenay-sous-Bois, a commune east of Paris.
Many teams known as for this rally, together with SOS Racisme, Amnesty Worldwide France, pupil unions and labour unions.
Paty had been the goal of on-line threats for displaying caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed. He was educating an ethical and civic instruction class on October 5 at his faculty at Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, northwest of Paris. These lessons are compulsory and canopy topics together with secularism, the loss of life penalty and abortion.
“I’m an Algerian Muslim and I refuse to just accept this act of terrorism. And that’s what it’s, an act of terrorism,” one other protester, Amal, advised FRANCE 24. “I practise my faith however it’s between God and me. This man (the attacker) doesn’t signify me, he doesn’t signify my faith, he represents no one.”
Friday’s assault was the second such incident since a trial began final month over the January 2015 bloodbath on the workplaces of the Charlie Hebdo satirical journal, which had printed caricatures of the prophet that unleashed a wave of anger throughout the Islamic world.
Within the run-up to the trial, the journal republished the cartoons shortly thereafter, a younger Pakistani man wounded two folks with a meat cleaver outdoors Charlie Hebdo’s former Paris workplaces.
French President Emmanuel Macron’s workplace mentioned a nationwide tribute can be held for Paty on Wednesday.