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Far-right National Front leader Marine Le Pen, who scored nearly a fifth of the first-round vote in the 2012 presidential election, has paid tribute to Dominique Venner on Twitter, saying his suicide was a political gesture aimed at "waking up the French people".
Venner - a 78-year-old French far-right activist - committed suicide at the altar of the Notre Dame cathedral today, three days after a law legalising same-sex marriage came into effect.
Police evacuated the cathedral, one of Paris' biggest tourist draws, after Venner - a historian known for his hard-right political essays and a fierce opponent of gay marriage - shot himself, sending tourists fleeing in panic.
A man who is understood to have committed suicide by shooting himself at the altar of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris has been named by a police source as a well-known former far-right activist.
Dominique Venner, 78, was a historian known in France for his far-right political essays. He carried a letter on him but made no declaration before shooting himself dead, the source said.The cathedral has been evacuated.
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The newspaper Le Parisien reports a man was shot in the head behind the first altar of Notre Dame Cathedral. They say the man was a 78-year-old "writer and essayist" and a sealed letter was found near his body. The cathedral remains closed.
Paris police say Notre Dame Cathedral has been evacuated after a suicide inside the famed church, reports Associated Press.