France marches in tribute to beheaded history teacher as terror police make 11th arrest
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Demonstrators have marched through cities across France in solidarity with a history teacher who was beheaded in a Paris suburb.
Samuel Paty, 47, was decapitated on Friday by an 18-year-old Chechen refugee, who was then shot dead by police.
On Sunday afternoon, political leaders, associations and unions gathered in Paris, Marseille and other French cities in memory of Mr Paty and in support of freedom of speech.
Some held placards reading “I am Samuel” that echoed the “I am Charlie” rallying cry after the 2015 attack on the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo.
The attack on Mr Paty is believed to have been terror related and motivated by fury after he discussed caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad, published by the paper, with his class.
A moment’s silence was observed across the Place de la Republique in Paris, broken by applause and a rendition of the French national anthem La Marseillaise.
A demonstrator holds a placard reading ‘I am a teacher’ (AFP via Getty Images)
It came as French authorities detained an eleventh person following the attack in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, north-west of Paris.
At least four of those detained are family members of the suspect, who had been granted a 10-year residency in France as a refugee in March, according to French officials.
France terrorist ‘asked pupils to point out teacher’ before beheading
The teenager had no apparent connection with the teacher or the school.
He lived in the Normandy town of Évreux, about 60 miles from the murder scene, anti-terrorism prosecutor Jean-Francois Ricard told reporters on Saturday.
Mr Ricard said said that a text claiming responsibility and a photograph of the victim were found on the suspect’s phone.
He also confirmed that a Twitter account, which posted a photo of the decapitated head minutes after the attack, also belonged to the 18-year-old.
Crowds, clad in masks, joined in solidarity with Mr Paty (AFP via Getty Images)
French Muslim groups are among those to condemn the attack and express solidarity with Mr Paty.
A group of imams in the Lyon region held a special meeting on Sunday to discuss what the group called “the appalling assassination of our compatriot”.
They said the uspeackable act had been carried out by a “terrorist who, in the name of an uncertain faith, committed the irreparable”.
The head of the world’s largest body of Muslim-majority nations, Organisation of Islamic Co-operation (OIC), also spoke out against the killing.
The organisation’s General secretary Yousef al-Othaimeen stressed that the OIC rejects “all forms of extremism, radicalisation and terrorism for any reason or motive”.
Meanwhile, Donald Trump shared his condolences to the French president during a political rally in Janesville, Wisconsin, on Saturday night.
He told the crowds: “On behalf of the United States, I’d like to extend my really sincere condolences to a friend of mine, President (Emmanuel) Macron of France, where they just yesterday had a vicious, vicious Islamic terrorist attack – beheading an innocent teacher near Paris.
“France is having a hard time and Macron’s a great guy.”