Paris – “We are not afraid. You will not divide us”, launched on Twitter Prime Minister Jean Castex, present at the rally Place de la République in Paris, two days after the beheading of a teacher in the Yvelines.
“We are France!“, added the head of government, images of the crowd chanting La Marseille in support.
He was with Minister of Education Jean-Michel Blanquer and Deputy Minister for Citizenship Marlène Schiappa, who tweeted “Liberty, equality, fraternity. Tribute to Samuel Paty“.
“Whatever our political, union or other differences, we must demonstrate unity and show that we are not afraid in the face of the enemies of the Republic. Unity is the condition for success“Jean-Michel Blanquer told the press.
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Victim of a “characterized Islamist attack“According to Emmanuel Macron, the history teacher was assassinated on Friday after showing caricatures of Mohammed to his 4th year students.
Demonstrations were organized in dozens of cities in France on Sunday. In Paris, political leaders from various sides joined the thousands of people gathered at the call of several teachers’ unions and associations, as well as Charlie Hebdo.
The mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo (PS), the president of Ile-de-France Valérie Pécresse (ex-LR), the ex-president François Hollande and the former Prime Minister Manuel Valls were there.
The climate was not always in harmony. Girded with a tricolor scarf, LFI leader Jean-Luc Mélenchon told the press that he was “of our duty to us republicans to be present“to this gathering in the capital, while”the goal of these criminals is to divide us“.
More “the government should ask itself questions“on what could have led to the assassination of Samuel Paty, he added. While insisting:”I call for national unity (…) We forget everything, all the other battles, and we focus on the need to be together“.
The bosses of the PS, Olivier Faure, and of Europe Ecologie-Les Verts, Julien Bayou, had also announced their participation.
On the spot also, the MEP EELV Yannick Jadot estimated that “it is necessary to act with the greatest firmness, but that does not prevent the emotion and the gatherings“.
Hollande: “Union is essential in the face of all that threatens us”
“Union is essential in the face of all that threatens us“, estimated François Hollande.
Valérie Pécresse said on Twitter to surrender “Place de la République support our teachers struck in their flesh“. “But I deny to all those who have been in all the parades and all the petitions with the Islamists the right to have a clear conscience and to be exempt from all responsibility by demonstrating“, she added, referring to the far left.
For Manuel Valls, Jean-Luc Mélenchon has “a very great responsibility in this cowardice of the left“in the face of Islamism.
The boss of La République en Marche, Stanislas Guerini, was also present, as were several members of the majority.
Deputy Chairman of the LREM deputies, Aurore Bergé (ex-LR) had however indicated that she would not participate, not wanting to be “alongside people who have created a favorable climate for these ideologies, or in any case have ceased to fight them“, she declared to Radio J, quoting the rebellious Eric Coquerel or Danièle Obono.
Likewise, LR officials had not planned to be present. “There have been too many attacks without real retaliation. Too many steps followed by too many setbacks. Too many homages without courage“, thus tweeted the boss of senators LR Bruno Retailleau.
On the National Gathering side, those in charge are rather “in political action, are working on something more concrete and are a little fed up with the + candle policy +“, we told the party.