France – World – Murder of Matisse: thousands of people for the white march in Châteauroux

France – World – Murder of Matisse: thousands of people for the white march in Châteauroux
France – World – Murder of Matisse: thousands of people for the white march in Châteauroux

Many roses placed in homage to Matisse (center), in Châteauroux, May 4, 2024

AFP PHOTO / Guillaume SOUVANT

Under a clearing, Place La Fayette in the city center was packed with people, with, among the many people present, elected officials, carrying white or pink roses. Some people had worn t-shirts with otters, a reference to Matisse’s nickname given by his father Christophe Marchais.

Matisse’s parents stood at the head of the silent procession, behind a banner bearing the image of their son.

The businesses were almost all closed and many had a photo of the teenager or an otter in their window.

The need to do “something” became clear to Châteauroux’s catering professionals, explains Delphine Chambonneau, owner of the Albert Coffee shop, located in the city center.

Matisse was an apprentice cook at the CFA de l’Indre and his father owns a restaurant.

“We all know each other. We all have a link with this family,” explains Ms. Chambonneau, while a t-shirt with the words “restaurateurs and cafe owners united in pain / Rest in peace Matisse” was made. The day of Sunday April 28, the day after the tragedy, was particularly difficult, continues Ms. Chambonneau. “All the customers were starting to cry.”

Despite the call from Matisse’s father in particular to guard against any political exploitation, Friday evening, a small ultra-right group displayed banners in front of the town hall: “Justice for Matisse”, “Frenchman wake up”.

According to the prefect of Indre, Thibault Lanxade, the operation was “very quick”. “There were around ten of them. They unfurled their banners and left.” The action was claimed by the small group “Animus Fortis” on its X account.

The teenager died from his injuries on April 27, after several stab wounds during a “brawl” that occurred in the Saint-Denis district, according to the Bourges public prosecutor.

Flowers laid in tribute to Matisse at the place where the teenager was killed, May 4, 2024 in Châteauroux AFP PHOTO / Guillaume SOUVANT

His alleged attacker was indicted Monday evening for “murder” and placed in pre-trial detention, and his mother, aged 37 and suspected of having “slapped the injured victim”, was indicted for ” intentional violence” on “vulnerable person”.

Matisse’s murder comes after a new wave of violence between young people, such as the fatal beating in Viry-Châtillon (Essonne) of Shemseddine, 15, and in the middle of the campaign for the European elections.

In this context, the Afghan nationality of the two indicted – in a legal situation in France – has led several figures from the right and the extreme right to denounce the government’s “migratory policy”.

On social networks and in encrypted messaging loops, photos of the suspect, his parents, and links to his personal accounts are shared, AFP noted.

Given “pressures” and the presence of “very young children” within this family, the prefect of Indre assured AFP that “means were implemented to secure them from Thursday evening” .

For several days, Christophe Marchais has nevertheless continued to warn: “Let’s not mix everything up. Be careful of all the right-wing parties or elsewhere who appropriate this kind of thing”, he declared on the microphone from RTL.

To avoid any excess during the tribute, the prefecture decided to “reinforce a CRS company” alongside the department’s gendarmes and police officers, to hold “checks on motorway exits and on entrances to the agglomeration of Châteauroux”, where far-right activists are expected.

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