French President Emmanuel Macron paid his respects tonight at the coffin of a teacher who was beheaded near Paris during a memorial event at The Sorbonne.
History teacher Samuel Paty was decapitated for having shown cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad in a civics class discussion on free speech early this month.
He became the subject of an online hate campaign over his choice of lesson material - the same images which unleashed a bloody assault by Islamist gunmen on the offices of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo five years ago.
Paty was killed on his way home from work after school last Friday by 18-year-old Chechnya-born Abdullakh Anzorov, who published an image of the teacher's severed head on Twitter before he was himself shot dead by police.
At The Sorbonne tonight, Macron vowed that France 'will not give up cartoons.'
French President Emmanuel Macron watches the coffin of slain teacher Samuel Paty being carried in the courtyard of the Sorbonne university during a national memorial event, in Paris, France today
French President Emmanuel Macron delivers his speech in front of the coffin of slain teacher Samuel Paty during a national memorial event, in Paris, France today
French President Emmanuel Macron, center, pays his respects in front of the coffin of slain teacher Samuel Paty in the courtyard of the Sorbonne university during a national memorial event, Wednesday, tonight in Paris
The president said Paty was slain by 'cowards' for representing the secular, democratic values of the French Republic.
Paty's coffin stood in the centre of the university courtyard, adorned with French flags, as pupils, a friend, and a fellow history teacher paid moving tributes to the 47-year-old father of one.
The ceremony started with the song 'One' by Irish rock band U2 played over loudspeakers at the Paty family's request, and ended with applause.
Macron said Paty was killed 'because he incarnated the Republic.'
The president added: 'He was killed because Islamists want our future,' while vowing 'they will never have it.'
At the event, Macron gave the country's highest civilian award, the Legion of Honour, to Paty, who was attacked on his way home from the junior high school where he taught in the suburb of Conflans-Sainte-Honorine outside Paris.
Paty was killed on his way home from work after school last Friday by 18-year-old Chechnya-born Abdullakh Anzorov, who published an image of the teacher's severed head on Twitter before he was himself shot dead by police
Tributes were held elsewhere in France tonight, with the President of the Occitanie region Carole Delga organising the six front covers discussed by Paty in his classroom be projected on to the facade of two hotels.
The cartoons, which are being shown on the front of the Hotel de Region in Toulouse and Montpelier, will be broadcast for 10 seconds each on a loop for four hours.
The projections, which started at 5pm and end at 9pm, finish with an image of Paty and the French flag.
In an interview with actuToulouse, Delga said: 'There must be no weakness in the face of the enemies of democracy, in the face of those who reveal religion to transform it into a weapon of war, in the face of those who unite, by calculation or renouncement, with those who have the political objective to destroy