By: V4 Agency
When a Catholic procession was attacked by anti-fascist and communist groups, many were left injured. The Catholic Church organised a pilgrimage to commemorate the victims of the rue Haxo massacre and the martyrdom of Archbishop Georges Darboy killed during the 1871 Paris Commune. However, participants were unable to complete the 4-kilometre walk to pay tribute to the priests executed 150 years ago.
Around 300 people gathered to attend the pilgrimage, a 4 kilometre-long march, to commemorate the martyrs of the Catholic Church, who were killed in 1871 for their religious conviction.
No sooner had the procession set off towards the church of Notre-Dame des Otages than passers-by began verbally insulting its participants. Tensions escalated further when the procession encountered a group of communist protesters, who kept shouting slogans like “Death to fascists” towards the Catholic pilgrims.
“I had the feeling as if we were in Paris 150 years ago, it was surreal,” the organiser said.
The pilgrims were then attacked by an anti-fascist group of roughly 20 people, who were clearly in for trouble, the organiser said. “They tore the banners out of our hands, threw them on the ground and trampled on the French remembrance flag, and then they hit the parishioners. They also hurled cans, bottles, and parts of the fence at us.”
Two children suffered minor injuries during the attack, and a man hospitalised with head injuries.
Security forces provided by the diocese and Order of Malta tried to stop the attack with the help of a police officer deployed by the local prefecture, but they were unable to separate the attackers from those participating the march.
“We usually have no violent atrocities during Catholic processions, which is why the prefecture only sent one officer to secure the march,” parishioner Alexandra Kozak said.
The march was interrupted by the attack and its participants fled to the nearby Notre-Dame de la Croix church. “We were praying and waiting for the police to rescue us,” the organiser said.
The communications manager of the diocese said they were aware that far-left groups had known about the event, but did not expect such a reaction during a reigious march.
Responding to the events on Twitter, French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin posted a message on Sunday night, saying the “freedom of worship must be fully protected.”