Emmanuel Macron Spares ‘Special Thought’ for Murdered Teacher at Start of French School Term
13:37 GMT 02.09.2021 (Updated: 13:58 GMT 01.03.2022)
© AP Photo / Lewis JolyThe portrait of slain teacher Samuel Paty with a black ribbon is displayed Tuesday, Oct.20, 2020 on the steps of the National Assembly in Paris.
© AP Photo / Lewis Joly
On 16 October 2020 Samuel Paty, a history teacher, was attacked and beheaded by a young Chechen refuge who accused him of disrespecting the Prophet Muhammad. Paty had shown cartoons of the prophet during a class discussion about freedom of speech.
French President Emmanuel Macron has paid tribute to teacher Samuel Paty - who was beheaded last year by a Muslim attacker - at the start of the academic year.
In a video message on his official Twitter account, Macron said: "Today, with the beginning of the school year, I have special thoughts about the parents and colleagues of Samuel Paty. No one has forgotten.”
Macron, who visited a school in Marseille on Thursday 2 September and answered questions from students, is bidding to be re-elected in next spring’s presidential elections.
— Emmanuel Macron (@EmmanuelMacron) September 2, 2021
Paty, 47, was attacked at a school on the outskirts of Paris by Abdoullakh Anzorov, 18, who was then shot dead by the police.
The killing was revenge for Paty showing the cartoons in class, an act which outraged many Muslim parents and some students.
One of the students - who was allegedly paid to point Paty out to Anzorov - is awaiting trial for his role in the killing.
© AP Photo / Francois MoriThe coffin of slain teacher Samuel Paty is carried in the courtyard of the Sorbonne university during a national memorial event, Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020 in Paris.
The coffin of slain teacher Samuel Paty is carried in the courtyard of the Sorbonne university during a national memorial event, Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020 in Paris.
© AP Photo / Francois Mori
After the killing Macron came to the defence of teachers like Paty and said education should not be stifled by self-censorship.
In his video message on Thursday Macron said the tragedy “reminds us how much the beautiful teaching profession is at the heart of the nation, of our pact for our children and all of us.”
Macron said his government was doing “the maximum” to make sure the return to school was as normal as possible amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
— Sophie Pedder (@PedderSophie) September 2, 2021
He welcomed the “exceptional mobilisation” of teachers, students and parents.
France has had almost seven million COVID-19 cases and 115,000 deaths since March 2020.
Around 78 percent of teachers have been fully vaccinated and another 11 percent will in the next few weeks, according to the French government.