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When journalist Nick Garret saw the face of Xavier Jugelé on the BBC News website, he recognized it immediately. Garret had interviewed Jugelé, the openly gay police officer killed in the April 21 assault on the Champs-Élysées in Paris, on November 2016 in front of the Bataclan music hall during the hall’s reopening concert one year after the November 2015 terrorist attack that killed 89 people at Bataclan and dozens more throughout Paris.
Gay nights at the Bataclan music hall
Jugelé — an openly gay, married member of Flag!, an organization which includes LGBT policemen and gendarmes — was stationed elsewhere during the 2015 terror attack, but on the evening of November 2016, he came to the Bataclan music hall with his partner because the place had long hosted gay events, in particular the very popular queer dance party Follivores.
The BBC recently re-broadcasted Garret’s interview with Jugelé from that night, and it’s a conversation that can’t be listened to without great emotion.
When the journalist asks Jugelé why he’s there, he replies, “I was here many times because of gay events and many concerts. That’s why I’m here with my friend: to celebrate life and to say no to terrorism.”
The journalist then asks him if does not feel strange to be here. “It doesn’t feel strange at all because it’s the same place, just repainted. It’s still the same, it looks the same,” Jugelé replies in good spirit. That evening in November, Sting was performing at the Bataclan in a tribute to victims of the attack.
Showing support and solidarity through crowdfunding
Jugelé’s fellow police officers of the 32nd brigade have launched a crowdfunding campaign in solidarity with Jugelé’s family. In just a few days, more than 2,647 people have already contributed.
The Prefecture of Police has set up a register of condolences in Jugelé’s memory that will be passed on to his family.
The national tribute to Jugelé, presided over by François Hollande, takes place this Tuesday at 11 a.m. in Paris.
(Image via the solidarity fund)