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Holding the casket

The national homage includes a minute’s silence in French police stations and myriad events in schools that both honour Mr Beltrame’s memory and provide a focal point for national grief after last Friday’s killing spree. (PA)

French policeman who died after replacing a hostage is honoured in national tribute

The policeman who died in last week’s extremist attack in southern France is being honoured in an elaborate, daylong national homage led by French President Emmanuel Macron.

Lieutenant Colonel Arnaud Beltrame, 45, was shot in the neck last Friday after offering to take the place of a woman during a gunman’s assault on the Super U supermarket in Trèbes.

The coffin of Beltrame was carried in procession in the Wednesday morning drizzle from the Pantheon across Paris to the Hotel des Invalides, the final resting place of Napoleon.

The French president will deliver a public eulogy in front of colleagues and family of Mr Beltrame, who died of his wounds on Saturday morning, hours after swapping himself for a hostage during a siege in a supermarket.

During the ceremony, Mr Macron will posthumously award Mr Beltrame the Legion of Honour, France’s highest award.

The national homage includes a minute’s silence in French police stations and myriad events in schools that both honour Mr Beltrame’s memory and provide a focal point for national grief after last Friday’s killing spree.

Some 2,000 high school students and scores of police attended the Paris event that began as gendarmes sang the French revolutionary anthem the Marseillaise in the stone courtyard of the French Interior Ministry.