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“We need a respectful, mutual listening, free of ideology and predetermined agendas.” Pope Francis, Let us Dream, December 2020

French policeman killed in extremist attack honoured in national tribute

The policeman killed in last week’s extremist attack in southern France has been honoured in an elaborate, daylong national homage led by French President Emmanuel Macron.

The tribute came as questions were raised about possible failures by French counter-terrorism officials in tracking the gunman, who was on a radicalisation watch list before he went on a rampage on Friday.

The coffin of Lieutenant Colonel Arnaud Beltrame was driven through the morning drizzle in a procession across Paris from the Pantheon to the Hotel des Invalides, the final resting place of Napoleon.

Mr Macron delivered a patriotic public eulogy calling for national solidarity after last week’s attack, which together with myriad other extremist attacks on French soil have claimed over 200 lives since 2015.

Mr Beltrame symbolised “the spirit of French resistance”, Mr Macron said.

The officer died of his wounds on Saturday morning, hours after swapping himself for a hostage during a siege in a supermarket near the city of Carcassonne.

“We will prevail thanks to the resilience of the French…We will win by the cohesion of a united nation,” Mr Macron added.

Picture: French President Emmanuel Macron leans at the coffin of Lt. Col. Arnaud Beltrame. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena).