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Macron marks 150 years of 'La République' by lauding French freedoms

French President Emmanuel Macron at a ceremony at the Panthéon in Paris to mark 150 years of the Republic of France, on September 4, 2020.
French President Emmanuel Macron at a ceremony at the Panthéon in Paris to mark 150 years of the Republic of France, on September 4, 2020. © Capture France 24
2 min

In a speech on Friday marking 150 years of the French Republic, President Emmanuel Macron criticised those who seek French citizenship without accepting France’s “right to commit blasphemy”. To be French, he said, is to defend the right to "laugh, to criticise, to mock". 

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French President Emmanuel Macron on Friday criticised Friday what he called “Islamic separatism”, saying France must be embraced by its new citizens in its entirety. 

“You don’t choose one part of France. You choose France," he said, adding: "The Republic will never allow for any separatist ventures.”

Those who seek French citizenship must accept all of the republic's freedoms, including “the freedom to believe or not to believe".

"But this is inseparable from the freedom of expression up to the right to blasphemy”.

“To be French is to defend the right to make people laugh, to criticize, to mock, to caricature,” he added.

Macron also defended satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo, which has published controversial caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad. The drawings helped inspire two French-born but radicalised Islamist extremists to launch a deadly January 2015 attack that left 12 people dead at the paper's offices. 

The paper defiantly republished the images this week as the trial began of 14 people accused of involvement in both the attacks on Charlie Hebdo and on a kosher supermarket.

The attacks killed 17 people in all and marked the beginning of a wave of violence by the Islamic State group in Europe. 

(FRANCE 24 with AP)

 

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