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100 years on, France remembers murdered political hero Jaures

Published on Jul 31, 2014 10:54 PM
French President Francois Hollande drinks a cup of coffee by a portrait of Jean Jaures on July 31, 2014, inside the Cafe du Croissant after taking part to a commemoration ceremony at the place where French socialist leader and pacifist Jean Jaures was shot to death in 1914. -- PHOTO: AFP

PARIS (AFP) - France on Thursday paid tribute to socialist Jean Jaures, one of its greatest political heroes, a century after he was assassinated on the eve of World War I which he had tirelessly fought to prevent.

Jaures is a major historical figure in France and both the French left and right now seek to lay claim to his legacy - much to the irritation of the country's far left.

The socialist leader and founder of France's L'Humanite newspaper was shot dead in a Paris cafe on July 31, 1914, by a young French nationalist.

Raoul Villain, 29, had opposed Jaures' pacifism, favouring instead a new war with Germany to recover both French pride and territories lost in the Franco-Prussian war of 1870-1.

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