“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 alongside the Minister of Education Jean-Michel Blanquer and the Minister Delegate in charge of Citizenship Marlène Schiappa, who tweeted “Liberty, equality, fraternity. Homage to Samuel Paty”.
“Whatever our political, trade 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,” said to the press Jean-Michel Blanquer.
Victim of a “characterized Islamist attack” according to Emmanuel Macron, the history teacher was assassinated Friday after showing caricatures of Muhammad 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 former president François Hollande and the former Prime Minister Manuel Valls were there.
The climate was not always in harmony. Girded with a tricolor scarf, the leader of LFI Jean-Luc Mélenchon declared to the press that it was “our duty to us Republicans to be present” at this rally in the capital, while “the purpose of these criminals is to divide us “.
But “the government should ask itself questions” about what may 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 “we must act with the greatest firmness, but that does not prevent the emotion and the gatherings”.
Hollande: “Union is essential in the face of everything that threatens us”
“Union is essential in the face of everything that threatens us,” said François Hollande.
Valérie Pécresse indicated on Twitter to go “Place de la République to 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, in reference on 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 deputies of the majority.
Deputy President of LREM deputies, Aurore Bergé (ex-LR) had however indicated that she would not participate, not wanting to be “alongside people who have created a climate favorable to these ideologies, or in any case have stopped fighting them, “she told Radio J, citing 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 marches followed by too many setbacks. Too many tributes without courage,” tweeted the boss of senators LR Bruno Retailleau.
National Rally side, officials are rather “in political action, working on something more concrete and are a little fed up with the + policy of the candle +”, we told the party.