Numerous demos expected: Several arrests after teacher murder


The murder of a teacher by an Islamist hits France to the core. The sympathy is huge. Several people close to the alleged perpetrator are now in police custody.

In France, numerous solidarity demonstrations are expected across the country following the alleged terrorist murder of a teacher. The editors of the satirical magazine “Charlie Hebdo” called for a demonstration in Paris on Sunday afternoon, together with the organization SOS Racisme and teachers’ unions. In numerous other cities like Marseille or Bordeaux, too, people want to take to the streets. The brutal murder of the teacher had caused horror throughout France. According to the public prosecutor’s office, the alleged motive of the perpetrator was caricatures of the prophet Mohammed. The teacher had shown these in class a few weeks ago on the subject of freedom of expression.

According to the public prosecutor’s office, the perpetrator, who was born in Moscow in 2002 and had Russian-Chechen roots, bragged about it online after the crime. He published a photo of the victim and sent a message to French President Emmanuel Macron, whom he described as the “leader of the infidels”. “I executed one of your hellhounds who dared to belittle Mohammed,” he continued, according to the prosecutor. The Twitter account has since been blocked. The perpetrator was shot dead by the police shortly after the crime.

The father of a schoolgirl incited against the teacher

Several people around the alleged perpetrator were in police custody on Saturday. Also arrested was the father of a schoolgirl who had mobilized on the net against the teacher after he showed the Mohammed cartoons. He had distributed a video and publicly railed against the teacher, as prosecutor Jean-François Ricard said. The father asked the headmistress to dismiss the teacher and was accompanied by a man who, according to the media, is a well-known Islamist. He is also in police custody. The father’s half-sister has joined the Islamic State (IS) terrorist organization. The public prosecutor has not yet established a connection between this father and the attacker.

Already on Saturday there were expressions of solidarity for the killed teacher in numerous cities. People gathered under the motto “Je suis Prof” (Eng. I am a teacher) based on “Je suis Charlie”. The catchphrase coined the time after the devastating murder attack on the editorial staff of “Charlie Hebdo” in 2015. Only a few weeks ago a man brutally attacked two people with a knife in front of the former editorial building. He also gave the motif of Mohammed cartoons that the magazine had published. The attacker was actually targeting the editorial team, but did not know that they had meanwhile moved to a secret location.

The teacher was brutally murdered late on Friday afternoon in the Paris suburb of Conflans-Sainte-Honorine near a school. There the attacker killed the 47-year-old man after ambushing him. His body was found decapitated with numerous wounds on the upper body and head. The investigators also found a blood-smeared knife more than 30 centimeters long near the crime scene.

The alleged attacker lived with his family as a refugee in France and has had a residence permit since spring, which is valid until 2030. He lived in Evreux around 90 kilometers from the crime scene and was previously unknown to the secret services. The prosecutor did not provide any information on how long the alleged attacker and his family had lived in France. The brutal attack hits France in the middle of the second corona wave, which has hit the country hard. On Wednesday there will be a national memorial service for the teacher. President Macron described the act as an Islamist-motivated attack.

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