The suicide of a far-right writer/activist at Paris' Notre Dame yesterday is being hailed as a "political act" by other far-right leaders. Dominique Venner, who shot himself in front of an estimated 1,500 people inside the vaunted cathedral, had posted a final essay on his website decrying both the country's recent legalization of gay marriage and immigration from Africa, reports the AFP. The 78-year-old left a letter containing similar statements at the altar before killing himself, says a police source. Venner also left a message that a friend read on a conservative radio station. A sample: "I believe it is necessary to sacrifice myself to break with the lethargy that is overwhelming us. ... I am killing myself to awaken slumbering consciences."
On Twitter, National Front party leader Marine Le Pen praised Venner. "All respect to Dominique Venner whose final, eminently political act was to try to wake up the people of France," she wrote. Another senior National Front figure and member of the European Parliament also hailed the "dramatic gesture," and called Venner an "extremely brilliant intellectual," France 24 reports. He noted the death was likely inspired by that of right-wing Japanese author Yukio Mishima, who committed ritual seppuku in 1970 as an act of political protest. (Read more Notre Dame stories.)