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French authorities on Wednesday banned a demonstration by activists claiming the police staffer who stabbed four colleagues to death was not an Islamist radical but was instead a man discriminated against because he was partially deaf.
The killing last week of the four police employees at the headquarters of Paris police shocked the country and prompted President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday to promise an “unrelenting” fight against what he termed the “Islamist hydra”.
The assailant, Mickael Harpon, converted to Islam about 10 years ago and, according to investigators, had adopted increasingly radical beliefs and been in contact with a radical Salafist imam.
A local activist, Hadama Traore, had called for a demonstration Thursday in Gonesse, the northeastern Paris suburb where Harpon lived, insisting that he was “not a religious extremist”.
Writing on Facebook, Traore claimed that Harpon suffered discrimination and mockery at work because he was hard of hearing.
“Thats the context which explains why he cracked,” he wrote, while condemning the “atrocious” killings.
'Obscenity and insult'
The leader of the far-right National Rally (RN), Marine Le Pen had urged the government to ban the protest.
“How can we believe that Emmanuel Macron will fight against the Islamist hydra when he cannot even ban a demonstration supporting an assassin of four police organised by an earthworm?” she wrote on Twitter.