Paris – French police have conducted a series of raids targeting Islamist networks, three days after the beheading of a history teacher who had shown his pupils a cartoon of Prophet Mohammed.
Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin vowed there would be “not a minute’s respite for enemies of the Republic”, after tens of thousands took part in rallies countrywide on Sunday to honour teacher Samuel Paty and defend freedom of expression.
A silent rally was planned Tuesday evening, as well as a ceremony Wednesday at the Sorbonne attended by President Emmanuel Macron.
So far,fifteen people have been detained, including four pupils who may have helped the killer – an 18-year-old Chechen origin who was killed by the police – to identify the teacher in return for payment.
Law enforcement carried out 40 raids on Monday, mostly around Paris, with many more planned.
“We want to harass and destabilise this movement in a very determined way,” said one ministry source.
47-year-old Paty was attacked on his way from the junior high school where he taught in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, 40 kilometres northwest of Paris.