They wanted to express their sadness and support.
This Thursday, about sixty people gathered, at the call of five associations of residents of the priority Red Cross district, in Reims, in "solidarity" with the photo-journalist of the daily Union who was violently there. assaulted on Saturday.
"We are here out of compassion for the journalist and to condemn this odious act which also attacks the values of the Republic", explained Mohamed El-Addaoui in front of the parking lot of the Red Cross media library, the scene of the aggression.
It is here that Christian Lantenois, 65, almost lost his life on Saturday.
While he had come to cover incidents in this sensitive area, he was violently attacked by a dozen people "to prevent him from doing his job", according to the prosecution.
About fifty people gathered this afternoon in front of the Red Cross media library in #Reims, in support of Christian Lantenois, photojournalist for the @UnionArdennais newspaper.
- France Bleu Champagne-Ardenne (@fbleuchampagne) March 4, 2021
This Wednesday, a 21-year-old resident of the neighborhood was indicted for "aggravated attempted murder" and placed in pre-trial detention.
He faces a life sentence.
This 21-year-old man, of Algerian nationality, was convicted 8 times in 2018 and 2019, for burglary, drug trafficking and violence in meetings.
Residents are asking for help
It was he who, according to the investigation, struck the Union journalist first with his fists and then with the camera body.
The public prosecutor made a clear link with the profession of journalist.
“Mr. Lantenois was attacked because he was a journalist”.
The assault lasted 57 seconds according to the prosecutor.
The photographer was placed in an artificial coma, suffering from a "very severe head trauma".
The president of the Association of Maghrebian Workers of France, in the neighborhood since 1983, is still shocked by the aggression of the journalist.
“We've known him for years,” he says.
Photo-journalist attacked in Reims: a suspect indicted for attempted aggravated murder
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At his side, Salah Byar, the president of the Committee for the Defense of Red Cross tenants (a district of 28-000 inhabitants), also wants to launch an alert.
“I've lived in the neighborhood for fifty years, I've seen it deteriorate.
Before, there was everything, sports fields, associations, a police and gendarmerie office.
Everything has disappeared.
This left space for the thugs, he laments.
We feel abandoned by the public authorities.
I don't see anything positive here anymore.
And he was not the only one, this Thursday afternoon, to denounce an increasingly difficult situation.
“Violence is increasingly young and more and more extreme, also notes Rachid Alaoui, of the Committee of tenants of rue Pierre Taittinger.
The inhabitants must be associated with public safety, ”he believes.
Moreover, the rally was supervised by about fifteen police officers.