France to hold solidarity demos for beheaded teacher

Demonstrations in Paris, Marseille, Bordeaux and other large cities are expected

In France, numerous solidarity demonstrations are expected across the country on Sunday following the suspected Islamist murder of a teacher. The editors of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo called for a demonstration in Paris on Sunday afternoon together with the organisation SOS Racisme and teachers' unions.

People are also expected to take to the streets of numerous other cities, including Lyon, Toulouse, Strasbourg, Nantes, Marseille, Lille and Bordeaux.

Friday's brutal murder and decapitation of the 47-year-old history teacher Samuel Paty in suburban Paris, apparently for discussing controversial caricatures of the Muslim prophet Mohammed that originally appeared in Charlie Hebdo, has shocked France. The teacher had shown the images during a lesson on freedom of expression in early October.

But images of Mohammed are forbidden in Islam and can cause offence among Muslims. Their publication led to a deadly attack on the offices of Charlie Hebdo in January 2015. Suspects accused of links to those attacks in January 2015 are currently before the courts in a trial that is expected to run until mid-November. A subsequent series of attacks in France, many claimed by the Islamic State terrorist organization, cost more than 230 lives in 2015 and 2016.

Charlie Hebdo's former office was the site of a cleaver attack just a few weeks ago after it republished some of the cartoons of Mohammed ahead of the ongoing trial.

Many already took to the streets across France on Saturday to show solidarity with the teacher, often using the slogan "Je suis prof" (I am a teacher), echoing "je suis Charlie" that became the rallying cry of solidarity marches in 2015. The gatherings come as French authorities say they have detained a 10th person following the horrific incident.

At least four of those detained are family members of the attacker - a Moscow-born Chechen - who had been granted a 10-year residency in France as a refugee in March. 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.

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