Hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets of Paris on Sunday in tribute to Samuel Paty, the French teacher beheaded by an Islamist extremist outside his school on Friday, consistent with reports.
The massive crowd gathered at the Place de la Republique within the Paris chanting “Je suis enseignant,” or “I am an educator,” in response to the horrific attack on the 47-year-old teacher, which President Emanuel Macron called an “Islamic surprise attack,” the BBC reported.
The Paris protest was only one of several in France, including gatherings at Place Bellecour in Lyon and in Lille, where marchers carried signs reading, “I am Samuel” that echoed the “I am Charlie” rallying cry after the 2015 attack on the mordant newspaper Charlie Hebdo.
The history teacher was attacked on Friday last week by his very own student Abdoulakh Anzorov, a Russian-born 18-year-old who was allegedly retaliating for the teacher’s use of a caricature of the Prophet Muhammad during a discussion on freedom of expression.
Anzorov hung around the school’s entrance trying to find Paty before the attack, and even asked students to point him out, consistent with anti-terror prosecutor Jean-Francois Ricard.
Anzorov allegedly travelled 50 miles from his range in Evreux to hold out the attack after reading a web rant from the daddy of 1 of Paty’s students, who called the teacher a thug and demanded that he be suspended over the slight of the founding father of Islam.
The attacker, who witnesses said shouted “Allahu Akbar,” or “God is great” after beheading Paty, was shot dead by responding cops .
Friday’s attack on Raty sparked an identical national backlash, with French officials announcing that 231 “radicalized” foreign nationals are going to be expelled from the country, Fox News said Sunday.
Authorities also said that 11 people have been arrested and held for questioning in Paty’s fatal attack.