Seven people, including two minors, were handed over to a judge overnight as part of an ongoing investigation into last week’s murder of French teacher Samuel Paty, an official from the anti-terrorist prosecutor’s office said. Paty was beheaded on Oct. 16 in broad daylight outside his school in a middle-class Paris suburb by an 18-year-old of Chechen origin. Police shot the attacker dead.
The French government has ordered a mosque to close after it shared videos condemning Samuel Paty, the teacher who was killed on Friday after showing cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad to his pupils. The Pantin mosque, just north of Paris, will close for six months on Wednesday. It posted videos on Facebook before Mr Paty was killed that called for action and revealed his school’s address.
Tens of thousands of people have rallied in solidarity, in dozens of towns and cities across France, after a secondary schoolteacher was beheaded. Demonstrators gathered on Sunday in cities including Paris, Lyon, Toulouse and Bordeaux in support of free speech and in tribute to Samuel Paty, who was killed outside his school on Friday after discussing caricatures of the prophet Muhammad with his class.
People in the southern Pacific French territory of New Caledonia have once more voted to stay with France, narrowly rejecting independence in a tightly-fought referendum. By refusing independence, the territory of 273,000 people will keep generous subsidies from France, which provides $1.5bn in financial support annually. It was the second time New Caledonia held such a referendum. New Caledonia was colonized by France in the mid-19th century.
The trial of 14 suspects accused of involvement in the 2015 attacks on the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and the kosher supermarket Hyper Cacher has opened in Paris. The hearing, expected to last 49 days and recorded live for “the historical record”, began amid high security and will relive the three days of terror in January 2015 that left 17 people dead and others injured.
Wearing a face-mask in public has become mandatory across Paris and several surrounding areas, amid a surge in Covid-19 cases in France. The move comes a day after the country recorded 6,111 new infections – its highest number since early May. The number of “red zones” where the virus is in active circulation has risen from two to 21. Despite a sharp rise in cases in recent weeks, daily death tolls have remained low.
French police cleared a 39-year-old Rwandan refugee of all suspicion on Sunday and released him after questioning the man about a fire at the 15th-century cathedral in the French city of Nantes. “He is not implicated. The inconsistencies that came up have been clarified,” Nantes prosecutor Pierre Sennes told Reuters. The fire engulfed the inside of the Gothic structure in flames on Saturday, destroying a grand organ, stained-glass windows and a painting.
France’s traditional Bastille Day celebrations have been transformed to pay tribute to heroes of the coronavirus crisis. Doctors, nurses, paramedics and supermarket workers are all being honoured on Tuesday as part of the country’s biggest national holiday. This year, however, marching band members wore masks and stood further apart than usual to maintain social distancing.
The spire of Notre Dame cathedral, which was destroyed in a fire last April, will be restored according to the original Gothic design. French President Emmanuel Macron announced the decision, putting an end to speculation that the spire would be rebuilt in a modern style. Mr Macron had previously hinted he was in favor of a “contemporary gesture”.
France’s new prime minister has been named as Jean Castex following the resignation of Edouard Philippe, triggering a government reshuffle. Speculation had been growing that a shake-up at the Elysee Palace was imminent. Mr Philippe had actually seen his popularity increase significantly in recent weeks – despite French authorities facing criticism over their handling of the coronavirus crisis.