Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Mass Rallies For French Massacre Victims


More than 100,000 people gathered across France to pay tribute to the victims of Wednesday's massacre by Islamist gunmen in Paris, as thousands also rallied in other European cities and the "I Am Charlie" hashtag swept the Internet, AFP reports.

With the gunmen still on the loose in Paris after killing 12 people, defiant crowds swarmed into the Place de la Republique, barely a kilometre (half a mile) from the scene of the bloodbath at the Charlie Hebdo satirical weekly.

At least 35,000 held vigils in Paris, and some 20,000 people turned out in the French cities of Lyon and Toulouse, police said. Thousands more took to the streets in cities including Bordeaux and Marseille.

Many demonstrators wore black stickers with the words "Je suis Charlie" (I am Charlie), a slogan aimed at showing solidarity with the victims of the deadliest attack in France in decades and in support of the paper's decision to print controversial prophet Mohammed cartoons.

Others 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.

Charbonnier was one of four cartoonists killed in the attack that also left 11 people injured.

The provocative magazine had repeatedly published controversial cartoons of the prophet Mohammed, in part as a campaign to defend freedom of the press, but offending many Muslims who view such depictions as blasphemous.

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