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Thousands join marches after anti-Semitic murder

Thousands of people join silent marches against anti-Semitism following murder of 85-year-old 

Thousands of people took part in a silent march in Paris against anti-Semitism following the murder of an 85-year-old Jewish woman in the capital - the second such killing in just a few months.

Other marches were held in Lyon, Marseille and Strasbourg.

The leaders of several political parties joined the march for Mireille Knoll, whose partly burned body was found in her Paris home at the weekend. Police said that her murder was anti-Semitic.

Community leaders carrying white roses and lawmakers wearing their official sashes led the march from Place de la Nation to the victim's apartment building in the east of the capital. Interior Minister Gerard Collomb and Culture Minister Francoise Nyssen were part of a large government contingent.

Marine Le Pen and Jean-Luc Melenchon were booed and heckled after they ignored requests from Jewish leaders to stay away and joined the march.

The  victim, who had narrowly escaped the notorious Vel d’Hiv raids by French police on behalf of the Nazis in July 1942, was stabbed 11 times. Her apartment was then set on fire.

A neighbour in his twenties and a homeless youth have been charged in connection with the murder.

President Emmanuel Macron attended the victim's funeral on the outskirts of Paris on Wednesday after paying tribute to the hero gendarme, Arnaud Beltrame.

He had mentioned Mrs Knoll in his speech at the state ceremony honouring the murdered gendarme, saying her killers had “murdered an innocent and vulnerable woman because she was Jewish ... and in doing so, profaned our sacred values and our history.”

In April 2017, Dr Sarah Attal-Halimi, a 65-year-old Orthodox Jewish woman, was beaten and thrown out of the window of her home in Paris. Her murder was later ruled by the French courts as anti-Semitic.

According to records 13,152 Jews were arrested in the Vel d’Hiv round-up, including more than 4,000 children. They were held at the Vélodrome d'hiver in crowded conditions, almost without food, water, or sanitary facilities, then shipped in rail cattle cars to Auschwitz.

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