LE MONDE, LE NOUVEL OBSERVATEUR, EUROPE 1(France)
PARIS – The Notre Dame Cathedral was evacuated on Tuesday after a man committed suicide in front of the altar. The man was soon afterward identified as Dominique Venner, essayist, historian and far-right militant with close ties to the anti-gay marriage movement, reports Le Nouvel Observateur.
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Photo: Dominique Venner's blog
Venner, 78, went to the altar, and without a word, shot himself in the mouth, reports Le Monde. The building was evacuated.
Venner spent 18 months in prison in 1961 for being a former member of the OAS Organization of the Secret Army, a paramilitary organization during the Algerian War that was opposed to the Algerian independence.
Most recently, he voiced his opposition to the gay-marriage bill that was enacted last week in France. In his last blog post, he wrote about the anti-gay marriage protest that will be held on May 26:
“The May 26 protesters are right to scream their impatience and their anger. A despicable law, once it has been voted, can always be repealed.
Organizing nice little street protests isn’t enough.
There needs to be new – spectacular and symbolical – actions to shake people out of their torpor, wake up these anesthetized consciences and wake up the memory of our origin. We are entering an era where words must be authenticated by actions.”
According to the Europe 1 radio station, a letter was found near Venner’s body.
— Europe 1(@Europe1) May 21, 2013
Suicide in Notre-Dame, police evacuated the cathedral