Demonstrations in France will pay tribute to slain teacher

Flowers lay outside the school where slain history teacher Samuel Paty was working, Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020 in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, northwest of Paris. French President Emmanuel Macron denounced what he called an "Islamist terrorist attack" against a history teacher decapitated in a Paris suburb Friday, urging the nation to stand united against extremism. The teacher had discussed caricatures of Islam's Prophet Muhammad with his class, authorities said. The suspected attacker was shot to death by police after Friday's beheading.

PARIS (AP) — Demonstrations around France have been called in support of freedom of speech and to pay tribute to a French history teacher who was beheaded near Paris after discussing caricatures of Islam’s Prophet Muhammad with his class.

Samuel Paty was beheaded on Friday by a 18-year-old Moscow-born Chechen refugee who was shot dead by police.

Political leaders, associations and unions will demonstrate Sunday afternoon in Paris and in other major cities including Lyon, Toulouse, Strasbourg, Nantes, Marseille, Lille and Bordeaux.

The gatherings come as French authorities say they have detained a 10th person following the horrific incident.

French anti-terrorism prosecutor Jean-Francois Ricard said an investigation for murder with a suspected terrorist motive was opened. At least four of those detained are family members of the attacker, who had been granted a 10-year residency in France as a refugee in March, was armed with a knife and an airsoft gun, which fires plastic pellets.

His half-sister joined the Islamic State group in Syria in 2014, Ricard said. He didn’t give her name, and it is not clear where she is now.

The prosecutor said a text claiming responsibility and a photograph of the victim were found on the suspect’s phone. He also confirmed that a Twitter account under the name Abdoulakh A belonged to the suspect. It posted a photo of the decapitated head minutes after the attack along with the message “I have executed one of the dogs from hell who dared to put Muhammad down.”

The attack has provoked global condemnation. U.S. President Donald Trump addressed the killing Saturday night from a political rally in Janesville, Wisconsin.

“On behalf of the United States, I’d like to extend my really sincere condolences to a friend of mine, President (Emmanuel) Macron of France, where they just yesterday had a vicious, vicious Islamic terrorist attack -- beheading an innocent teacher near Paris," he said. “France is having a hard time and Macron’s a great guy.”

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