Wed | Jan 16, 2019

Secret burials, rally ban as the French try to head off unrest

Published:Sunday | January 18, 2015 | 12:00 AM
A young girl looks on at French soldiers patrolling at the Roissy Charles de Gaulle airport, in Roissy, north of Paris, yesterday. France ordered 10,000 troops into the streets Monday to protect sensitive sites


French authorities yesterday sought to head off possible civil unrest and glorification of terrorism after the country's worst terror attacks in decades, assenting to quietly bury the two brothers involved in the rampage and banning an anti-Islamist demonstration in Paris.

The moves came amid a groundswell of popular antagonism across Europe against radical Islam, stepped-up police efforts to prevent terrorism, and protests against caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad across the Muslim world that have underscored vast cultural differences.

In Belgium, paratroopers fanned out to guard possible terrorism targets across the country, including some buildings in Antwerp's Jewish quarter. It was the first time in 30 years that authorities used troops to reinforce police in Belgian cities, and came a day after anti-terror raids netted dozens of suspects across Western Europe.


Belgian media reported that investigators were still looking for one man - a Belgian with Moroccan roots who had gone to fight with the Islamic State group in Syria, and was said to be in Greece. Federal magistrate Eric Van der Sypt declined to comment, but expressed, "regret that the element of Greece has reached the media".

Mayors in two French cities, meanwhile, begrudgingly agreed to secret burials of Said and Cherif Kouachi, the two brothers behind the shooting spree at satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo on January 7 that started the three-day terrorism rampage that killed 17 people.

Also yesterday , the Paris administrative tribunal ruled that Paris police were authorised to ban an "Islamists out of France" rally planned for tomorrow by two groups that promote secular and republican values.

One organising group, "Secular Riposte," said on its website that it would instead hold a news conference today. Resistance Republicaine, another organiser, said it would still hold similar rallies in the southern cities of Bordeaux and Montpellier today.