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Mon, 02 Nov 2020 15:21 - Updated Mon, 02 Nov 2020 15:20

French pupils remember slain teacher as anti-Macron protests persist overseas

PARIS - Schools across France held a minute’s silence on Monday in memory of Samuel Paty, the teacher beheaded by a Chechen teenager who wanted to avenge his use of cartoons mocking the Prophet Mohammad during a class on freedom of expression.

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With France at its highest security level following further attacks since Paty’s killing on Oct. 16, some 12 million pupils returned to school for the first time since the 47-year-old was slain in broad daylight on the eve of a two-week school holiday.

President Emmanuel Macron cast the killing as an attack on French values and the Republic itself. But his insistence that France will not compromise on basic freedoms of belief and expression has provoked outcry among Muslims worldwide.

“The idea of terrorism is to create hatred,” Macron wrote in a message to schoolchildren on social media. “We will pull through this together.”

Pupils stood in silence at 11 a.m. and teachers reminded them of their rights and duties in a “free democracy”.

Prime Minister Jean Castex marked the tribute alongside staff at the Le Bois d’Aulne college where Paty taught. Police guarded the gates of the high school, which remains closed to pupils until Tuesday.

Macron has described Paty as a “quiet hero” dedicated to instilling the values of the Republic in his pupils and the embodiment of France’s “desire to break the will of the terrorists”.Reuters

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