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Archive for France

Newsline: Pakistani protesters call for French ambassador to be expelled from country

Thousands of supporters of a radical Islamist party in Pakistan continued to protest over depictions of the Prophet Muhammad in France that they deem blasphemous. They were angered by remarks made by French President Emmanuel Macron in the wake of the murder of French teacher Samuel Paty. Macron defended the freedom of expression to produce the cartoons and attacked “Islamist separatism”. The protesters in Pakistan — supporters of Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) party — called for the expulsion of the French ambassador in Islamabad. They also want to cut diplomatic relations with France and withdraw their ambassador from the country. Muhammad Latif, a protester at the event in Islamabad, said: “We love our prophet, we will give our life for the respect and honour of Prophet Muhammad, we will give our life but can’t accept the French ambassador’s presence here.” (https://www.euronews.com/2020/11/16/pakistani-protesters-call-for-french-ambassador-to-be-expelled-from-country) The sit-in, which has continued at an important intersection, started unplanned at the end of a protest march from Rawalpindi led by TLP chief Khadim Hussain Rizvi, despite resistance by police on Sunday night. TLP supporters defied the security arrangements of police and the administration and clashed with security forces at different points on the way to the Faizabad intersection.

Newsline: Ex-Vatican ambassador to France goes on trial on sexual molestation charges

The Vatican’s former ambassador to France goes on trial in Paris on Tuesday accused of molesting four men in the latest sex scandal to rock the Roman Catholic church. Prosecutors opened an investigation after a junior official at Paris City Hall accused papal nuncio Luigi Ventura, then 74, of molestation in January 2019, and city authorities filed a complaint to the Paris prosecutor. (https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-france-religion-trial/ex-vatican-ambassador-to-france-goes-on-trial-on-sexual-molestation-charges-idUKKBN27Q1B5) Ventura’s lawyer has denied the allegations. The Vatican last year lifted Ventura’s diplomatic immunity and he resigned from his post in December. A Paris City Hall official told Reuters last year that in January 2019, during Mayor Anne Hidalgo’s New Year address, Ventura caressed the junior official’s buttocks repeatedly. Since then, three other men have come forward with similar allegations. Jade Dousselin, a lawyer for one of the men, a City Hall community manager who was 39 at the time, said her client had been molested in 2018. Ventura was papal envoy in France from 2008 to 2019, following postings in several African countries and in Canada.

Newsline: French Embassy Asks Russia To Beef Up All Missions’ Security

The French Embassy asked Russia to beef up the security of all French diplomatic missions in the country, after rallies in front of embassies and an attack on a consulate in Jeddah in Saudi Arabia, the embassy told Sputnik on Friday. The embassy said it had alerted the Russian authorities to increased risks for the country’s diplomats in light of recent events. (https://www.urdupoint.com/en/world/french-embassy-asks-russia-to-beef-up-all-mis-1071745.html) A day earlier, people came to a French Embassy in Moscow to protest the Muhammad caricatures that were published by French magazine Charlie Hebdo. One of the protesters was holding a banner with criticism against French President Emmanuel Macron.

Newsline: Saudi man arrested in Jeddah after knife attack on guard at French consulate

A Saudi man was arrested in the Red Sea city of Jeddah after attacking and wounding a security guard with a “sharp tool” at the French consulate on Thursday, local police said. A statement from the Mecca region’s police said the guard suffered “minor injuries” and that “legal action” was being taken against the perpetrator. The French Embassy said the consulate was subject to an “attack by knife which targeted a guard”, adding the guard was taken to hospital and his life was not in danger. “The French Embassy strongly condemns this attack against a diplomatic outpost which nothing could justify,” it said in a statement. (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-france-security-saudi/saudi-man-arrested-in-jeddah-after-knife-attack-on-guard-at-french-consulate-idUSKBN27E1QB) The attack occurred after a knife-wielding man shouting “Allahu Akbar” beheaded a woman and killed two other people in the French city of Nice earlier in the day. Nice’s mayor described the attack as terrorism. France is still reeling from the beheading earlier this month of a school teacher by a man of Chechen origin. The attacker had said he wanted to punish the teacher for showing pupils cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad in a civics lesson. Since Samuel Paty’s killing, French officials have reasserted the right to display the cartoons as a matter of free expression, and the images have been widely displayed at marches in solidarity with the teacher. That has stirred anger in parts of the Muslim world, with some governments accusing French President Emmanuel Macron of pursuing an anti-Islam agenda. Saudi Arabia on Tuesday condemned cartoons offending the Prophet Mohammad, but held back from echoing calls by other Muslim states for action against images of the Prophet being shown in France.

Newsline: Turkey summons French charge d’affaires over caricatures in Charlie Hebdo weekly

Turkey summoned the French charge d’affaires on Wednesday over caricatures published in Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine, a statement by Turkish foreign ministry said. The cartoon on the cover of Charlie Hebdo showed Erdogan sitting in a white T-shirt and underpants, holding a canned drink along with a woman wearing an Islamic hijab. Turkish officials described it as a “disgusting effort”. (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-france-security-turkey-summons/turkey-summons-french-charge-daffaires-over-caricatures-in-charlie-hebdo-weekly-idUSKBN27D2RK) France and Turkey have been at loggerheads over cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad, after a teacher who had shown pupils the cartoons in a lesson on freedom of speech was beheaded in France this month. Muslims consider any depiction of the Prophet as blasphemy.

Newsline: Pakistan’s parliament urges to recall ambassador from France

Pakistan’s parliament on Monday passed a resolution urging the government to recall its envoy from Paris over the publication of images of the Prophet Mohammad in France, accusing President Emmanuel Macron of “hate-mongering” against Muslims. The National Assembly resolution, which is non-binding, came hours after the French ambassador in Islamabad was summoned to the foreign office for Pakistan to register its protest. (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-france-security-pakistan/pakistans-parliament-urges-government-to-withdraw-envoy-from-france-idUSKBN27B2BO) The developments were the latest expression of anger in the Muslim world over France displaying images of the Prophet Mohammad that Muslims consider blasphemous. The resolution expressed “serious concern at the highly disturbing statements and hate-mongering, specially by leaders like President Macron, justifying unlawful provocation and insult to the sentiments of more than a billion Muslims”. The resolution also urged the government to ask other Muslim countries to boycott French products.

Newsline: France recalls envoy after Turkey scolds Macron over Muslims

France recalled its ambassador after Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said his counterpart Emmanuel Macron needed mental help over his attitude towards Muslims. “Outrage and insult are not a method,” Macron’s office said. The French leader this month declared war on “Islamist separatism”, which he believes is taking over some Muslim communities in France. France has since been shaken by the beheading of a teacher by an Islamist radical, avenging the use of cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad in a class on freedom of expression. “What is the problem of this person called Macron with Muslims and Islam? Macron needs treatment on a mental level,” Erdogan said in a speech in the central Turkish city of Kayseri. Turkey and France are both members of the NATO military alliance, but have been at odds over issues including Syria and Libya, maritime jurisdiction in the eastern Mediterranean, and the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh. “France has gathered its European partners, who share France’s demand that Turkey puts a stop to its dangerous adventures in the Mediterranean and in the region,” the statement from Macron’s office said. (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-turkey-france-macron/france-recalls-envoy-after-turkey-scolds-macron-over-muslims-idUSKBN2790JY) Erdogan has two months to respond or face measures, it added, noting the absence of a condolence message from Turkey’s leader after the history teacher’s death last week.

Newsline: France appoints ambassador for Indo-Pacific

France’s top envoy to Australia will become its first ambassador for the Indo-Pacific amid rising concerns about the Chinese Communist Party’s growing influence in the region. The move to shift ambassador Christophe Penot from Canberra to the broader economic zone is the sharpest escalation of France’s strategy in the contested area to date, as Germany and France push the European Union to become more assertive in its China strategy. Penot is due to leave next Tuesday and will be replaced in Australia by Jean-Pierre Thebault. Thebault organised the G7 in Biarritz in 2019 and is a former ambassador for the environment. (https://www.smh.com.au/world/asia/france-escalates-china-push-appoints-ambassador-for-indo-pacific-20201012-p5647f.html) Penot will be based in Paris but will travel throughout the Indo-Pacific and be responsible for co-ordinating diplomacy across the region. France’s Minister for the Armed Forces, Florence Parly, has pushed for an Indo-Pacific “axis, with France, India and Australia as its backbone” to develop foreign policy as global tensions increase. The trilateral dialogue would work separately from “the Quad”, which includes Japan, the United States, Australia and India and has a security focus.

Newsline: Paris bans George Floyd protest planned at US Embassy

French police have banned a demonstration planned to take place in front of the US Embassy in Paris on Saturday (Jun 6) as protests mount around the world over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. The Paris police department said on Friday it had decided to ban the demonstrations because of the risks of social disorder and health dangers from large gatherings due to the coronavirus pandemic. (https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/world/paris-bans-george-floyd-protest-planned-at-us-embassy-12809090) Trouble had broken out at another anti-police demonstration in the French capital on Wednesday. Thousands had turned up despite a police ban on the event in memory of Adama Traore, a 24-year old black Frenchman who died in a 2016 police operation which some have likened to Floyd’s death. Unrest has broken out across the United States after the killing of Floyd, a 46-year-old African American who died after a white policeman pinned his neck under a knee for nearly nine minutes in Minneapolis on May 25.

Newsline: China embassy Twitter portrays US as bloodthirsty grim reaper

China’s embassy in Paris said Monday its Twitter account had been “falsified” after a tweet portraying the US as a bloodthirsty grim reaper sparked disquiet over the diplomatic mission’s conduct on social media. The embassy has already been under scrutiny for a sequence of provocative tweets during the coronavirus crisis, which resulted in the summons of the ambassador to the foreign ministry. Late Sunday, a tweet appeared on its account showing a picture of the grim reaper cloaked in a US flag and armed with a scythe going past doors marked Iraq, Libya, Syria, Ukraine and Venezuela, all with blood pouring out of their thresholds. The grim reaper was now knocking on the next door marked Hong Kong with the caption “Who is Next?” “Clarification,” the embassy wrote in a pinned tweet after the controversial post was removed. “Someone falsified the official Chinese Embassy Twitter account by posting a cartoon entitled ‘Who is Next?’ The Embassy would like to condemn it and always abides by the principles of truthfulness, objectivity and rationality of information.” (https://www.deccanchronicle.com/technology/in-other-news/250520/china-embassy-twitter-portrays-us-as-bloodthirsty-grim-reaper-says-ac.html) It did not provide any details on how the alleged falsification had taken place, but its statement did not use the word “hacked.” The tweet was posted as tensions between Beijing and the United States spiral further as China moves to tighten control over Hong Kong.