Around 60 French conservatives in the Paris suburb of Clichy gathered to protest Muslims praying in the street which has been going on every Friday for the last nine months.
The conservatives, led by local mayor Remi Muzeau sang the French national anthem, the Marseillaise, in defiance of the Muslims who have taken over the market square every Friday for nearly a year.
Muzeau was joined by other members of Les Républicains, the party of former French President Nicolas Sarkozy, wearing tricolore sashes, including the president of the greater Paris region of Île-de-France, Valerie Pecresse, Le Parisien reports.
Journalist Théo Maneval witnessed the events posting video footage on Twitter and commenting: “Amazing scene: no dialogue, but elected representatives who sing the Marseillaise at the same time as the prayer begins. Both groups face to face, but do not speak.”
#Clichy Scène hallucinante : aucun dialogue, mais des élus qui chantent la Marseillaise en même temps que la prière débute. Deux groupes face à face, mais qui ne se parlent pas.#E1midi pic.twitter.com/2tKXTj73lA
— Théo Maneval (@TheoManeval) November 10, 2017
Eventually, the two sides became more and more agitated and nearby riot police intervened after the elected officials walked into the square where the Muslims were praying in an effort to physically make them move.
2 rangées de gendarmes protègent les musulmans qui continuent à prier, alors que les militants de @Forces_Laiques s'indignent: "La République ne doit pas cautionner des troubles à l'ordre public" pic.twitter.com/PjK3qlQgVE
— Stéphane Kovacs (@KovacsSt) November 10, 2017
After the protest had ended, Mayor Muzeau took to Twitter posting pictures of the protest and writing: “Huge success for the gathering of the elected to support the rule of law and republican secularism. Stop the illegal street prayers! Thank you all for your fantastic support!”
The illegal street prayers have been occurring every week in the streets of the Paris suburb after their former mosque was declared to be illegal as they were only occupying the building. In March, French police forcibly evicted the group known as the Union of Muslim Associations of Clichy (UAMC), from the site which is scheduled to be turned into a media library.
Since the 2004 Paris riots, French suburbs have produced radical Islamists who have gone on to commit terror attacks including terrorist Karim Cheurfi who killed a police officer in Paris during the first round of the presidential election earlier this year.