Against horror, mobilization: at the call of several teachers’ unions and associations, as well as Charlie Hebdo, tens of thousands of people gathered on Sunday, October 18 in Paris and all over France, in tribute to Samuel Paty, the teacher murdered Friday in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine (Yvelines) for showing his students caricatures of Muhammad , an Islamist attack that aroused national emotion.
Theater of the historic demonstration which had followed the attacks of January 2015, the Place de la République in Paris filled at the beginning of the afternoon with thousands of people who came to defend freedom of expression, to say no to “Obscurantism” and sing the Marseillaise.
The minute of silence is followed by a Marseillaise. #SamuelPaty https://t.co/nxlXwW1oNI
As expected, it is also throughout France that freedom of expression has been defended. That the tributes have been paid. #JeSuisProf # MonsieurPaty… Demonstrators, teachers, elected officials and anonymous held signs, observed minutes of silence, and applauded in chorus in Ile-de-France, Grenoble, Marseille, Lille, Toulouse, Reims, or Bordeaux.
“We are there as teachers”, declared Maxime, a school teacher in Chelles (Seine-et-Marne) who was demonstrating at Place de la République, alongside colleagues, such as Mehdi, who was present for “Remember that we are a secular state, and that we must burst the abscesses”. Member of the Angry Chelles collective, which brings together teachers and parents of students, the professor shared his fear: “We feel like we have everything on our backs. News channels, politicians and now we are being killed for doing our job. We have colleagues who have committed suicide, and we are killed after leaving college. ” Like Nathalie, also a school teacher in Chelles, who has “Realized that you can die of teaching”.
With her students, Elsa, a teacher in a vocational high school, who came to close ranks in Paris and support the family of Professor Paty, must, for her part, address freedom of expression at the end of the All Saints holidays. With a little trepidation, but ” without hesitation “, she confides, because the most important for her, “It’s the students. How are we going to educate the next generation? “
“The work of the teaching teams to make all these concepts understood” needed to be greeted today, according to Joëlle and François, who came to Paris from Vitry-sur-Seine. Parents of a child who has just entered 4th grade, they insisted on trusting teachers. “We are the result of our history: these values of freedom, secularism, democracy must not remain just words, we must continue to bring them to life and being in this place participates in them”, considers Joëlle, sophrologist. In 2015, with her husband, she had already come to the Place de la République after the attack in Charlie hebdo : after the rally this Sunday, they hope not to have to come back.
On the placards at Place de la République, many messages calling for not to be afraid and to defend freedom… https://t.co/ZUMSd0M6AL
Of course, the memories of Charlie hebdo are reassembled. “At the time, it was said that the terrorists had targeted people“ who had looked for him a bit ”. This event shows once again that everyone can be targeted, that we are all concerned ”, declares Stéphane, teacher in higher education, met at Place de la République. Today, he and his partner Laurence, also a teacher, have mobilized to “To form a society around this fundamental value of freedom of expression”. They did not ask themselves whether or not to go to the rally, but Stéphane wonders, “With sadness”: “how in our country, did we get there? “
Some teachers, like Nicolas, a school teacher in Val-de-Marne, also call for the support of their hierarchy: “We see more and more families questioning the legitimacy of the work of teachers, and we must trust ourselves and not always question the behavior of the teacher in front of his class”.
Castex: “We are not afraid”
In Paris, from the extreme left to a few representatives of the right, several political leaders joined the thousands of people gathered. The Prime Minister, Jean Castex, appeared in the Parisian procession. At his side, his Minister of National Education, Jean-Michel Blanquer, his colleague delegate for citizenship, Marlène Schiappa, or the mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, “In support of teachers, secularism, freedom of expression and against Islamism”.
You don’t scare us. We are not afraid. You will not divide us. We are France! https://t.co/GjUQo9AePa
“Whatever our political, union or other differences, we must show 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 reporters. The bosses of La République en Marche, Stanislas Guerini, La France insoumise, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, of the Socialist Party, Olivier Faure, and of Europe-Ecology-Les Verts, Julien Bayou, also joined the procession.
A national tribute will be paid Wednesday to the professor, victim, in the words of Emmanuel Macron, of a “Characterized Islamist terrorist attack”.