Parisians march to protest murder of 85-year-old Holocaust survivor
Aurelien Meunier/Getty Images(PARIS) — French Police Officer Lt. Colonel Arnaud Beltrame and Mireille Knoll were both honored on Wednesday after they were murdered on March 23 in separate incidents, at different locations.
Beltrame’s death has been determined by authorities to have religious-based motives and authorities are still investigating the motive behind the killing of Knoll.
In East Paris, at Place de la Nation, thousands turned out to pay tribute to Knoll, who was the victim of a suspected anti-Semitic attack where she was stabbed to death and her apartment was set on fire. The march stopped at the block of flats where the 85-year old Jewish woman lived.
The tribute was calm and peaceful, although not without political frictions.
Far-left French politician Jean-Luc Melenchon and National Front Leader Marie Le Pen ignored a tweet from the President of the Council for French Jewish Organizations, also known as Crif, saying that neither were welcome to the demonstration.
Daniel Knoll, Mireille’s son, countered Crif, saying on RMC Radio Wednesday that the Jewish organization was “being political” and that “everyone without exception” could participate in the march.
However, after pulling out of the march due to a hostile reception, Le Pen later rejoined, and was asked why she attended by a journalist, she replied:
“Because I cannot stand the fact that our Jewish compatriots are the target of the Islamist Fundamentalists and the officials do not care.”
A 29-year-old neighbor of Knoll and a 22-year-old man, police report, have been arrested but not formally charged.
Beltrame was killed by an ISIS-inspired attacker in Trebes, South of France, after he volunteered to swap places with an hostage.
A state funeral was held for Beltrame prior to the march, as was the burial of Knoll who was laid to rest in the Southern outskirts of Paris.
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