A procession of Catholic worshippers has been attacked by radical left activists as they tried to move through the streets of Paris.
On Saturday, 300 Roman Catholics began their walk marking the 150th anniversary of the massacre of Christian hostages of the Paris Commune. The senseless slaughter occurred at the hands of insurrectionists who briefly captured the city in May 1871.
The small-scale pilgrimage, composed of parishioners of all ages, including young choristers began peacefully enough, but soon loud whistling could be heard from the streets. “Nothing too nasty,” the commemoration’s organiser, Monsignor Denis Jachiet, told Le Figaro, “we let it go”.
Soon, the hostiles started hurling abuse as the worshippers passed a sacred site on their way to Notre Dame in the very centre of Paris. According to Monsignor Jachiet, it then “went up a notch” as they encountered the protesting “communards”, a reference to the bloodthirsty 19th-century insurrectionists. Red banners signifying radical socialism then appeared and leftist activists began chanting threatening slogans: “Everyone hates Versaillais [monarchists], death to the fascists!”
The atmosphere rapidly turned “oppressive”, several of the pilgrims told journalists. They then encountered around twenty hooded thugs who blocked their path before moving in, snatching and trampling on parishioners’ flags and physically assaulting them. Other Antifa scumbags threw bottles, cans and even metal fencing. Two of the participants in their sixties fell to the ground, a third person received an injury to the head and needed to be hospitalised.
According to local parishioners, attacks against Catholics are very rare. Only one police officer was dispatched to help protect the churchgoers before they set off. In the dramatic video below, the officer can be seen trying to keep the mob at bay armed only with a single tear gas spray.
Monsignor Jachiet then took the decision for everyone to take refuge in a church on their route and abandon hope of finishing the procession at Notre Dame. “We waited and prayed until the police extracted us,” said Jachiet, who added that mothers and children were “in shock”.
“It is purely gratuitous violence, it is sad to see, 150 years after the Commune, that some people exploit a simple peaceful commemoration, especially since this procession had no protest dimension,” said Karine Dalle, a spokesperson for the Paris archdiocese.
“We are troubled that what we preach – a God of love – can arouse so much hatred, so much anger,” said Archbishop Michel Aupetit. “Last night, here, there was a demonstration of anger, contempt, and violence.”
“Yesterday, in Paris, Catholics were attacked by violent individuals on the sidelines of a procession. Freedom of worship must be exercised in complete serenity in our country,” wrote France’s interior minister on his Twitter account yesterday.