- Three hundred pilgrims were violently attacked, Saturday in Paris, while they were participating in a procession to pay homage to the ecclesiastics killed during the Paris Commune.
- A complaint is currently being drafted, indicates the diocese.
- As of Wednesday, the organizers, worried to see their leaflet circulating on groups close to antifa circles had expressed their concerns to the Paris police headquarters.
“Down with the Versaillais”, “Death to the Fachos”, “Cassez-vous”… Late Saturday afternoon, a Catholic procession organized in homage to the ecclesiastics killed during the Paris Commune was violently attacked, notably by antifa groups. In addition to the boos, the 300 or so demonstrators were the target of projectile throwing and physical violence. The diocese of Paris indicates this Monday that a complaint against X is being drafted.
The procession which had started around 5.15 p.m. from the rue de la Roquette, in the 11th arrondissement of Paris, was to walk to the Notre-Dame-des-Otages church, near the Porte des Lilas, thus retracing the path borrowed on May 26, 1871 by about fifty prisoners, including ten priests, from the Roquette prison to the rue d’Haxo where they were shot. “There was no political dimension in this march, it was above all a tribute which falls within the framework of the 150 years of the Commune”, insists the diocese to our newspaper.
Alerts in the days preceding the procession
From the start, however, the participants – clergymen, scouts and families – were verbally challenged. “Down with the skullcap”, “to death the Versaillais” chant people seated on the terraces bordering the rue de la Roquette. “These are demonstrators who are supporters of the Commune who cool off after their own demonstration. They are identifiable by their flags and other signs of belonging to the far left anarchist & antifa movement ”, notes the report of the company mandated by the diocese to ensure security, to which 20 Minutes had access. That day, in fact, in the same sector, the association Les amies et amis et de la Commune de Paris 1871 organized a day of tribute.
Three days before the procession was held, the organizers had expressed their concerns to the police headquarters after discovering, on social networks and in particular on several Facebook groups close to anarchist circles, that the tract of the procession was circulating. A sign all the more worrying that the Sunday preceding, ultra-left activists had already entered the Basilica of the Sacred Heart, a monument long symbol of the repression of Communards, to deploy banners. “We had not communicated on this event because the situation had been settled without difficulties, they did not put up resistance when they were taken back to the exit”, specifies the diocese.
The interrupted procession
The prefecture confirms at the end of the week to the organizers that they have taken note of their concerns and that instructions have been issued. However, this Saturday, only a police car, with two officials on board, leads the way. The latter, as well as the security service set up by the organizers, were quickly overwhelmed when at the intersection of Boulevard de Ménilmontant and Rue des Pannoyaux, the attacks were no longer only verbal. On images that have gone viral on social networks, we see counter-demonstrators throwing many projectiles, in particular bottles, in the direction of the pilgrims. Some physically attack participants. According to the diocese, a man was briefly hospitalized after receiving a projectile in the face, ten slightly injured are also to be deplored.
Around 6 p.m., a unit of the Brav-M, the motorized violent action repression brigade, arrived as reinforcements. Many demonstrators have already left the procession. The others try to continue their journey but arrived in front of the Church of Notre-Dame-de-la-Croix, about forty demonstrators block the passage. The pilgrims then decide to put an end to the procession and take refuge in the building until being exfiltrated by the police. “We are still in shock, we confided in the diocese. Beyond the violence of which we have been victims, we do not understand this hatred. “Sunday, the Minister of the Interior, Gérald Darmanin, deplored the situation on Twitter, adding that” the freedom of worship must be able to be exercised in all serenity “.