Saint-Michel cinema attack

On October 22, 1988, an integrist Catholic group set fire to the Saint Michel cinema in Paris while it was showing the film The Last Temptation of Christ. A little after midnight, an incendiary device ignited under a seat in the less supervised underground room, where a different film was being shown. The incendiary device consisted of a charge of potassium chlorate, triggered by a vial containing sulphuric acid.[2]

Saint-Michel cinema attack
LocationSaint-Michel cinema, 5th arrondissement of Paris, France
Coordinates48°51′09″N 2°20′38″E / 48.8526°N 2.3438°E / 48.8526; 2.3438Coordinates: 48°51′09″N 2°20′38″E / 48.8526°N 2.3438°E / 48.8526; 2.3438
Date22 October 1988
9:45 pm
Deaths0
Injured14
PerpetratorRight-wing Catholic extremists[1]
MotiveIntegrism

The attack injured thirteen people, four of whom were severely burned.[3][4] The Saint Michel cinema was heavily damaged,[4] and reopened three years later after restoration. The Archbishop of Paris, Jean-Marie Lustiger, had previously condemned the film without having seen it, but also condemned the attack, calling the perpetrators "enemies of Christ".[4]

The attack was subsequently blamed on a Christian fundamentalist group linked to Bernard Antony, a representative of the far-right Front National (NF) to the European Parliament in Strasbourg, and the excommunicated followers of Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre.[3] Similar attacks against cinemas included graffiti, setting off tear-gas canisters and stink bombs, and assaulting filmgoers.[3] At least nine people believed to be members of the Christian fundamentalist group were arrested.[3] Five militants of a group called "General Alliance Against Racism and for Respect of the French and Christian Identity" (Alliance générale contre le racisme et pour le respect de l'identité française et chrétienne) were given suspended prison sentences of between 15 and 36 months, as well as a 450,000 franc fine for damages.[5]

Rene Remond, a historian, said of the Christian far-right, "It is the toughest component of the National Front and it is motivated more by religion than by politics. It has a coherent political philosophy that has not changed for 200 years: it is the rejection of the revolution, of the republic and of modernism."[3]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "The Church vs the cinema: Philip Pullman's blasphemous materials?". Archived from the original on 2018-07-28. Retrieved 2018-07-28.
  2. ^ Caviglioli, François (15 April 1990). "Le bûcher de Saint-Michel" (PDF). Le Nouvel Observateur. p. 110. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2015-12-11. Retrieved 2015-01-16.
  3. ^ a b c d e James M. Markham (1988-11-09). "Religious War Ignites Anew in France". New York Times. Archived from the original on 2018-07-19. Retrieved 2018-07-27.
  4. ^ a b c Steven Greenhouse (1988-10-25). "Police Suspect Arson In Fire at Paris Theater". New York Times. Archived from the original on 2018-07-19. Retrieved 2018-07-27.
  5. ^ "L'Absolution des terroristes". L'Humanité. 4 April 1990. Archived from the original on July 14, 2014.