Hundreds of people paid their respect on Monday at the funeral of a 12-year-old girl whose battered body was found stuffed in a suitcase outside her Paris home.

The case has divided France as the suspect is an illegal immigrant.

Outside the church of Saint-Omer de Lillers, northern France, speakers had been set up for people to follow the mass, whuch was attended by Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin.

Neither the family nor Darmanin made public statements on Monday.

Hundreds of people stood in silence as a hearse took the white coffin of the girl, who has been identfied only as Lola, to the cemetery for a private burial ceremony.

Her murder became a source of political tension in France with opposition parties seizing on the profile of the suspect to call for tougher immigration policies and to criticise the the government for failing to deport immigrants whose application for asylum or residence has been rejected.

The main suspect, a 24-year-old woman from Algeria, was arrested last week and put under formal investigation on accusations of murder, rape and acts of torture. She had been seen on CCTV carrying the trunk in which the victim was found.

President Emmanuel Macron last week called Lola’s murder an act of “extreme evil” and has met with the girl’s parents.