Far-right French historian, 78-year-old Dominique Venner, commits suicide in Notre Dame in protest against gay marriage

A far-right French historian shot himself in the head beside the altar of Notre Dame cathedral in Paris today apparently in protest against the legalisation of gay marriage in France.

Dominique Venner, 78, a former member of the nationalist terrorist movement, OAS, placed a pistol in his mouth and shot himself dead in front of scores of tourists inside the most visited building in France.

Mr Venner, a presenter on a Catholic-traditionalust radio station and controversial historian and essayist,  posted an essay on his website earlier in the day calling for “new, spectacular and symbolic actions to shake us out of our sleep, to jolt anaesthetised minds and to reawaken memory of our origins”.

His long essay was a tirade against gay marriage but also a warning that the “population of France and Europe” was going to be “replaced” and brought under “Islamist control” and “sharia law”.

Mr Venner placed a sealed letter on the altar of the cathedral before shooting himself. His choice of the altar – associated  with religious marriage ceremonies -appeared to be a symbolic gesture of protest against the law permitting civil gay marriages in France which took effect last weekend.

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