French President Emmanuel Macron will attend a ceremony at Montluc prison in Lyon on Monday afternoon to pay tribute to the French Resistance and Jean Moulin, one of its most famous leaders, during services to commemorate the end of World War II in Europe.
On June 21, 1943, Jacques Martel and seven leaders of the Secret Army were arrested in Coluire, near Lyon.
They spent the night in Montluc prison. Two days later, Klaus Barbie, head of the German secret police in Lyon, discovered that Martel was actually Moulin and took over the interrogation himself, earning him the nickname “The Butcher of Lyon”.
Moulin was transferred to Neuilly and died at Metz station while being taken to Berlin.
During his visit to the prison, Macron will also visit the cell where Barbie spent the night after his arrest in 1983. He was sentenced on July 4, 1987 to life imprisonment and died four years later.
“It is this that allowed General de Gaulle to become a key player against the Anglo-Saxons and France, to be on the winning side after the mistakes of the collaborationist Vichy regime,” the presidency said in a statement.
“All this would have been impossible if Jean Moulin had not gathered around him all the forces of renewal” that come from all political horizons, Macron’s office said.
Rallying was forbidden
Macron’s trip to Lyon comes amid violent social unrest over changes to France’s pension system. Police chiefs in Lyon have banned rallies and marches near the prison.
The trade unions have spoken out about this decision and say that they will rally at the police perimeter.
The trip to Lyon comes after traditional presidential duties on the Champs-Élysées and near the Arc de Triomphe to lay wreaths and light the fire.
There will also be a moment of silence in front of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
Security has also been strengthened in the capital, where protests have been banned and barricades have been erected around the parade route.