Closed for more than a year, Paris's St. Rita church, a crumbling turn-of-the-century structure tucked away in the quiet, family-friendly 15th arrondissement of the French capital, had been slated for demolition for some time.
But on Wednesday, in the immediate aftermath of the funeral of the Rev. Jacques Hamel, the beloved 85-year-old priest who was killed by two assailants inspired by the Islamic State as he celebrated Mass in Rouen last week, the church's destruction inspired a sit-in protest.
Among those gathered were local residents who had long opposed the demolition. But many others, including right-leaning politicians and writers, took to Twitter to decry the state of Christian life in France, which is nominally secular but historically — and culturally — Catholic.
Images of police forcibly removing priests and worshipers from the church were shared widely online. According to the newspaper Le Figaro, about 30 protesters were removed by police, who said this happened "without incident."