Thousands gather to show their solidarity with Charlie Hebdo victims in France and Britain as Francois Hollande declares tomorrow a day of mourning
- As darkness fell on Paris, people carrying placards, candles and French flags gathered in the Place de la Republique
- Protesters carried signs with words #JeSuisCharlie – I am Charlie – in support of murdered Charlie Hebdo journalists
- Thousands also gathered in French cities of Nice and Rennes – and outside French embassy in Berlin
- Masked gunmen stormed the satirical weekly’s office in the capital with AK-47s and rocket-propelled grenades
- Attackers reportedly heard shouting ‘Allahu akbar!’ and ‘the Prophet has been avenged’ as they stalked building
- Newspaper had earlier posted a picture of Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi on its Twitter account
- Publication’s offices were previously firebombed in 2011 for publishing satirical cartoon of Prophet Mohammed
As darkness fell across Europe, tens of thousands took to the streets to show their solidarity with those killed by gunmen at the offices of satirical French weekly Charlie Hebdo.
Many of the protesters, meeting in Paris, Madrid and Berlin, have adopted the slogan ‘Je Suis Charlie’ – I am Charlie – holding up banners and placards printed with the words. Others were seen carrying enlarged versions of the some of the newspaper’s anti-Islamist cartoons.
In London, hundreds of people filled Trafalgar Square at a silent vigil for those killed when masked gunmen stormed the newspaper’s headquarters. Many held pens, pencils and notebooks in the air to show their support for the journalists, cartoonists and police officers who lost their lives.
The gatherings were held as French President Francoise Hollande declared tomorrow a day of national mourning tomorrow in respect for the victims of this morning’s attack.
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Unity: Protesters hold up their phones at a vigil held in Toulouse. Francoise Hollande has declared tomorrow a day of national mourning
Touching: The steps of a public building in Lyon are lit with candles as thousands of people gather to show support for Charlie Hebdo
Basic right: Standing in support of the freedom of the press, these protesters hold an illuminated sign at a gathering in the centre of Paris
London: The mood was sombre in Trafalgar Square as protesters with posters reading ‘Je Suis Charlie’ showed their solidarity with France
Tribute: Outside the EU headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, protesters held paper lanterns as they met to remember those who have died
Barcelona: In a sign of support of the journalists who lost their lives today, protesters held pens, pencils and notebooks in the air
Unity: Tens of thousands of people have tonight joined peaceful rallies in support of the people killed at the massacre in central Paris
At the Place de la Republique, in central Paris, less than half a mile from the Charlie Hebdo offices, protesters stood shoulder to shoulder, proudly holding ‘Je Suis Charlie’ signs above their heads. Similar peaceful protests were held in the French cities of Rennes, Nice and Lyon.
In central London, the mood was sombre as a large crowd gathered in front of The National Gallery, to express a mute horror at the events in the French capital. Dozens of French people were among them, along with those of other nationalities who came to show they would not bow to terrorism.
And in a show of support for the European neighbours, Germans gathered outside the French embassies in Berlin and Madrid tonight – signs illuminated by candlelight.
The crowds were gathered in support of 12 people – including four of France’s most revered cartoonists – who were executed by masked attackers, brandishing Kalashnikovs, who burst into the Charlie Hebdo headquarters, opening fire on staff after seeking out journalists by name.
They headed straight for the paper’s editor and cartoonist, Stephane Charbonnier, killing him and his police bodyguard. The security had been recruited to protect him after extremists firebombed the offices in 2011 over a satirical cartoon about the Prophet Mohammed.
A year later, Mr Charbonnier famously dismissed threats against his life, declaring: ‘I would rather die standing than live kneeling.’
The militants also killed three other renowned cartoonists – men who had regularly satirised Islam – and the newspaper’s deputy chief editor.
Pride: In the Place de la Republique in Paris, some of those gathered proudly carried the Tricolor – the country’s national flag
Support: Crowds of people carrying ‘Je Suis Charlie’ placards met in the centre of Nice, in the south of France tonight in a show of solidarity
Defiance: In a show of solidarity for their European neighbours, this group of protesters met outside the French embassy in Berlin tonight
‘Je Suis Charlie’: Many of the protesters have adopted the slogan ‘I am Charlie’ in a show of support for the murdered Charlie Hebdo journalists
Peaceful: Hundreds have started to gather in the Place de la Republique in the centre of the capital. Similar meetings are being held in Rennes
Peaceful: Hundreds have started to gather in the Place de la Republique in the centre of the capital. Similar meetings are being held in Rennes
Protesters in Trafalgar Square, London, held up pens and notebooks in a show of support for the journalists who lost their lives
Respect: Hundreds of people stood in silence in Nice on Wednesday night – a moving tribute to those who lost their lives today
Slogan: ‘Je Suis Charlie’ posters were held by many in Nice. Others waved banners with slogans such as ‘Press freedom has no price’
Close: This gathering took place in the Place de la Republique in Paris – less than half a mile from where the massacre took place today
Response: Masked attackers brandishing Kalashnikovs burst into the Charlie Hebdo headquarters today, tonight people gathered in support
People paid tribute to those who died today by organising peaceful rallies in Paris, other French cities and overseas
People gathered in support as journalists around the world led the trend for the hashtag, which translates as ‘I am Charlie’
The attack not only targeted the lives of innocent people, but also the freedom of the press, said Professor Anthony Glees, Director, Centre for Security and Intelligence Studies (BUCSIS) at the University of Buckingham.
It was this freedom, one of the core values of all Western democracies that is also being supported by those gathered in streets and squares across Europe tonight.
Some waved banners with slogans such as ‘Press freedom has no price’ and ‘Charb mort libre’ (Charb died free), a reference to the newspaper’s slain editor-in-chief Stephane Charbonnier.
Others wore black stickers marked ‘Je suis Charlie’ (I am Charlie), a slogan aimed at showing solidarity with the victims of the deadliest attack in France in decades.
‘It’s terrible that these people were murdered. In future, no-one will be able to speak his mind. We have to demonstrate in our thousands,’ said Beatrice Cano, a demonstrator in her fifties, who was carrying the latest issue of Charlie Hebdo.
A protester in Trafalgar Square, Dean Stoker, a 38-year-old architect from London, said: ‘I am just here out of solidarity. I was really sickened by what I saw today. It is an incredibly important thing, freedom of the press and tolerance of others.’
The mood was sombre in Trafalgar Square, central London, as hundreds gathered in a show of solidarity with those murdered today
People look on at Charlie Hebdo written in candles at Old Port of Marseille (left) and flowers are left outside the French consulate in Istanbul
Thousands of people in the centre of Lyon for a moment of silence as they pay their respects to the victims on the deadly attacks in Paris
Members of the European Parliament, above, were among those who took to the streets of Brussels to pay tribute of today’s attack
Candles and cards with ‘Je Suis Charlie’ create a makeshift shrine in a corner of the Place de la Republique in Paris
Alice Blanc, 19, a law and development student studying in London but originally from Paris, held up a quote often attributed to Voltaire, saying: ‘I do no agree with what you have to say, but I will defend to death your right to say it.’
She said: ‘I don’t think a country like France today should have a problem with freedom of speech.
‘No matter what a journalist or magazine has to say, even if it is not what the majority of people think, they still have the right to say it without feeling in danger, which is the case today.’
Esther Benjoar, 25, a Parisian who has lived in London for the last two years, said: ‘It is people like you and I who went to work today who got killed for their passion, their job.
‘It is the right that the French republic gave them to say what they want to say, and they got killed because of that. They didn’t do anything wrong and I think it is time for France to fight against terrorism.’
After more than half an hour of quiet vigil, a woman’s French voice pierced the silence. She shouted: ‘Freedom of the press! Freedom of speech!’
A woman lights a candle during a gathering at the Place de la Republique, another example of the peaceful protests being held tonight
London: Crowds also gathered outside the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square in a show of support of those murdered in Paris today
Madrid: People holding makeshift banners reading Je Suis Charlie gathered outside the French embassy in Madrid, in another organised rally
Geneva: Candles and a Je Suis Charlie mark another peaceful protest organised in solidarity. This one took place in Switzerland
The protests were held as French President Francoise Hollande (pictured tonight) declared tomorrow a national day of mourning
This afternoon, horrific footage of the attack emerged showing an injured police officer slumped on the pavement as two gunmen approached him outside the office minutes later.
In an apparent desperate plea for his life, the officer is seen slowly raising his hand towards one of the attackers, who responds by callously shooting him in the head at point-blank range.
Despite a shoot-out with armed officers, the ‘calm and highly disciplined’ men were able to escape in a hijacked car and remain on the loose.
The attack today comes after a series of strikes on shoppers in French cities in the lead up to Christmas.
Throughout the day, thousands of Twitter users have been expressing their solidarity with the news magazine with the hashtag #JeSuisCharlie after the attack at their offices this morning.
Journalists around the world led the trend for the hashtag, which translates as ‘I am Charlie’, as events following the massacre unfolded this afternoon.
By 4.15pm, nearly five hours after three gunmen stormed the building and opened fire in the Charlie Hebdo newsroom, it had already been tweeted more than 250,000 times, according to one social analytics website.
#JeSuisCharlie began trending worldwide about an hour after news of the attack broke, with users expressing sympathy for the victims and support for free speech.
Many of the tweets included satirical cartoons, including one published in 2012 by New Yorker magazine of a blank square with the message: ‘Please enjoy this culturally, ethnically, religiously and politically correct cartoon responsibly. Thank you’.
Another tweet under the hashtag by David Pope, political cartoonist at The Canberra Times in Australia, included a cartoon showed a masked gunman standing next to the corpse of a cartoonist. A speech bubble says: ‘He drew first.’
Among the first to use the hashtag was Thierry Puget, who made the graphic at the top of this story, which has been widely retweeted by others expressing solidarity with the magazine.
Others posted images of Charlie Hebdo’s most famous and controversial front covers of recent years, including one of an issue supposedly guest-edited by the Prophet Muhammad promising ‘a hundred lashes if you don’t die laughing.’
Assault: The attack in Paris today follows pre-Christmas attacks on hoppers in various parts of France. Above, protesters in Toulouse tonight
Social movement: Je Suis Charlie, a slogan that was first shared on Twitter this afternoon, was adopted by protesters in Nice (left) and (Paris)
Standing in front of a large Christmas tree in the city centre, protesters gather in Strasbourg, eastern France to show their support
President Francois Hollande described the bloodbath as a ‘barbaric attack against France and against journalists’ and vowed to hunt down those responsible.
As well as the AK47 assault rifles, there were also reports of a rocket-propelled grenade being used in the attack, which took place during the publication’s weekly editorial meeting, meaning all the journalists would have been present.
They are said to have sought out staff ‘by name’, according to a police source, adding that Charbonnier, known as Charb, a cartoonist responsible for an anti-Islam front page, was among those killed.
Mr Charbonnier was included in a 2013 Wanted Dead or Alive for Crimes Against Islam article published by Inspire, the terrorist propaganda magazine published by Al Qaeda. Cartoonists Cabu, Tignous and Wolinski were all also reported dead.
Speaking to MailOnline, Professor Glees said it was not yet clear whether the killings were in an act of retaliation for a recently tweeted cartoon mocking Islamic State leader Dr Al-Baghdadi, or for the publication of a tasteless cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad in 2011.
Crowds gathered on the streets of Geneva, Switzerland, with some protesters holding copies of Charlie Hebdo and others carrying signs
The ‘Je Suis Charlie’ slogan is given a Spanish translation – Yo Soy Charlie – on this shrine near the EU headquarters in Brussels
People walk past flowers that have been laid in tribute to victims of the attack in front of the French Embassy in Copenhagen, Denmark
People pack into the centre of Marseille, in southern France, to remember those who have lost their lives in the attack
He said: ‘The three terrorists were apparently heard after the bloodbath shrieking ‘we have avenged the Prophet’ but whether they were directly linked to Al-Qaeda, to the IS or an Al-Qaeda franchise in Yemen remains to be seen.’
He also critisised the French police for not better protecting the cartoonist and his office, despite the threats he had received following the publication of the cartoon.
He said: ‘What is not in doubt is that the French state, and above all the French president, have failed to protect the people of France and we are all the worse off for that.
‘Only two policemen guarded Charlie Hebdo’s offices, despite the now dead editor, Stephane Charbonnier, being under police protection and despite the magazine now being a sitting duck target. Two policemen? There should have been two hundred.’
He added that David Cameron was right to say that Britain is sickened by today’s murders and that we stand with the French people in the fight against terror and in defense of the freedom of the press.
He said: ‘When we see journalists slain to stop them publishing perfectly lawful material we should indeed come and defend the freedom of the press because it is a vital democratic freedom.
‘Let’s hope David Cameron remembers his own words when the time comes to debate yet again Lord Leveson’s plans to curb that freedom.’
STANDING STRONG: CHARLIE HEBDO AND ITS DEFIANCE IN THE FACE OF ISLAMIST THREATS
The satirical French magazine Charlie Hebdo whose Paris offices were attacked by gunmen today had its old building burned down in 2011 after printing cartoons of Prophet Mohammed.
Editor Stephane Charbonnier was also pictured in Al-Qaeda magazine Inspire on a list of nine men Al Qaeda was targetting, along with the caption ‘a bullet a day keeps the infidel away’.
Charbonnier’s lawyer revealed today that the editor has been under special police protection since 2012, and that the offices also had officers stationed there.
The controversy around Hebdo began in 2006 when the publication reprinted now-infamous cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed by Danish artist Kurt Westergaard.
Stephane Charbonnier, editor of magazine Charlie Hebdo, was named as one of nine men the extreme Islamist group were targetting (pictured centre right). Their photographs were printed alongside the caption ‘a bullet a day keeps the infidel away’
When the images originally appeared they lead to days of protests across the Middle East and in Western cities. The decision to reprint the images landed the then-editor in court under anti-terror laws, though he was later acquitted.
On other occasions Hebdo named Prophet Mohammed as its guest editor, published cartoons of the holy figure in the nude, and renamed itself Sharia Hebdo with the cover slogan ‘100 lashes if you don’t die of laughter’.
Hebdo’s old offices were burned to the ground in 2011 when attackers used Molotov cocktails to start a blaze early in the morning of November 2.
There was nobody in the building at the time, and the target was thought to be the magazine’s computer system, which was completely destroyed.
At the time, the editor-in-chief of the magazine, Stephane Charbonnier, said Islam could not be excluded from freedom of the press.
He said: ‘If we can poke fun at everything in France, if we can talk about anything in France apart from Islam or the consequences of Islamism, that is annoying.’
Mr Charbonnier, also known as Charb, said he did not see the attack on the magazine as the work of French Muslims, but of what he called ‘idiot extremists’
Riot police were forced to stand guard outside the building for days following the attack, as the editors took a defiant stance, choosing to reprint the cartoon images multiple times.
In 2012 Hebdo again printed cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed while violent protests were taking place across the Middle East after an anti-Islamic film made in California was put up online.
During the unrest the U.S. embassy was attacked in Benghazi killing Ambassador Christopher Stevens, U.S. Foreign Service worker Sean Smith, two CIA contractors, and injuring another ten.
Around the same time Charlie Hebdo was targeted online by British extremist Anjem Choudary who wrote: ‘Those who want to support the publication of ‘Charlie Hebdo’ who insulted the Messenger Muhammad (saw) must take lessons from Theo Van Gogh!’
Gogh, a Dutch film director, was assassinated by jihadi Mohammed Bouyeri in November 2004 for his film Submission which criticized the treatment of women in Islam.
The following year the magazine’s office again had to be surrounded by riot officers after they published a cartoon booklet depicting the Prophet naked as a baby and being pushed in a wheelchair by a Rabbi.
On the final page of the booklet there was a note from the editor, Stephane Charbonnier, saying the images were ‘halal’ because Muslims had worked on them, and that they were factually accurate as they had been derived from descriptions in the Koran.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2900835/Crowds-gather-central-Paris-solidarity-murdered-Charlie-Hebdo-journalists-slogan-Je-Suis-Charlie.html#ixzz3OAzZIa5Z
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