A well-known far right activist and historian, Dominigue Venner, shot and killed himself in front of crowds of tourists today at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, The Independent reports:
Mr Venner, a presenter on a Catholic-traditionalist radio station and controversial historian and essayist, posted an essay on his website earlier in the day calling for "new, spectacular and symbolic actions to shake us out of our sleep, to jolt anaesthetised minds and to reawaken memory of our origins".
His long essay was a tirade against gay marriage but also a warning that the "population of France and Europe" was going to be "replaced" and brought under "Islamist control" and "sharia law".
Mr Venner placed a sealed letter on the altar of the cathedral before shooting himself. His choice of the altar - associated with religious marriage ceremonies -appeared to be a symbolic gesture of protest against the law permitting civil gay marriages in France which took effect last weekend.
Venner was 78. The cathedral was evacuated and closed for four hours after the incident, the paper adds:
The rector of Notre Dame, Monsigneur Patrick Jacquin, said that, as far as he was aware, this was the first suicide within the cathedral since it was founded in the 12th century. "We will pray for this man as we pray for so many others who are at their wits' end," he said.