RECAP: 3.7 million take to streets in France
Ben McPartland · 12 Jan 2015, 00:11
Published: 11 Jan 2015 13:06 GMT+01:00
Updated: 12 Jan 2015 00:11 GMT+01:00
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- Crowds gather for historic march through the streets of Paris
- Over 50 world leaders expected including the Israeli PM and Palestinian president
- Man resembling Paris gunman Coulibaly claims Isis links in posthumous video
- Jewish schools in France could be given army protection
19:52 - In memory of the victims
We are going to wrap up this live blog at the end of an historic and emotional day in France.
We are unlikely to ever see scenes like that again and let's we hope we never do.
We'll end our live coverage with a reminder of the names of the 17 people who lost their lives in the terror attacks that brought so many people out on to the streets of Paris today. Thanks for following the coverage.
Clarissa Jean Philippe
19:50 - The end of a historic day
The crowds have started to disperse and people are starting to head home at the end of a historic day.
19:45 - Expats support their beloved France on streets of Paris
Many expats have also turned out for today's march, as AFP reports.
The news agency quotes Brazilian Marie Badas, who is in the midst of the giant crowds and has lived in Paris for 40 years as saying:
"No one messes with my France! Paris is the city of light. I learned to read by reading Charlie Hebdo,"
Another woman, Sandra Silvia, 52, from Venezuela is wrapped in a huge French flag and has also dressed her little dog in the Tricolore.
"In any country, it would have been horrifying, but this isn't any country -- this is France. The country of human rights, of freedom, of literature, of the arts. France is a symbol," she said.
Nearby, a Kurdish man in his forties named Durdu has covered himself from top to toe in "Je Suis Charlie" stickers and others that say "Secularism, freedom of expression and anti-racism".
"For several months, we've been fighting a war in Kurdistan against those who sympathise with the people who killed Charlie. It's the same mentality," said the shopkeeper who has lived in France for 19 years.
19:30 - Danish PM falls over
Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt had an unfortunate fall after the march that didn't escape the cameras, as our Denmark correspondent tweets.
19:12 - Hollande and Netanyahu cheered at synagogue
The two leaders are at the synagogue to pay tribute to the victims of the shootings at the kosher store.
There were also chants of "Viva Israel".
Last night Netanyahu told Jewish people living in France to come "home" to Israel.
18:55 - BREAKING - 3.3 million on the streets of France
That's the latest figure from organisers anyway. And looking at the pics from cities and towns all over France, you'd have no reason to doubt those numbers.
At least 3.3 million people marched against extremism throughout France on Sunday, according to an AFP tally of provisional official figures, in what the interior ministry has dubbed an "unprecedented" mobilisation.
In Paris alone, an organiser estimated that up to 1.5 million people had taken to the streets earlier Sunday.
18:47 - Homage at the synagogue in Paris
François Hollande as well as several ministers including the PM Manuel Valls are expected at the Synagogue de Paris to pay respects to the four victims of the shooting at the kosher store.
Nicolas Sarkozy is also at the synagogue and was applauded as he entered the building.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will also make a speech at the synagogue although we understand François Hollande will not stay to hear it.
The last time Netanyahu spoke at a memorial for the murder of French Jews at the hands of an Islamist extremist, he was accused of hijacking the service for electioneering.
18:36 - They are still chanting Charlie out there
18:29 - Not everyone feels safe in France now
The Local's Oliver Gee has been speaking to members of the Jewish community among the crowds and some are worried after another anti-Semitic attack.
"Honestly. I don't feel safe today," Joseph Spitezki, aged 34, tells The Local.
"Two years ago it was a Jewish school. Today a supermarket. People are afraid. Can we still be a Jew in France. In Europe? At this march I feel safe," he adds.
"But what will happen tomorrow? I'm not sure that French people understand. They talk of freedom of expression but the problem is deeper. I see "Je suis Charlie" but I dont see enough of "I am Jewish"."
Joseph Spitezki says he feels scared in Paris. Photo: The Local
"People are more than scared in my community. For the first time since the Holocaust, La Victoire synagogue in Paris was closed," the researcher continues.
"Around 1,200 French people went to fight in Syria, they were born here. What will happen when they come back?
It's sad to think they studied here but hate France and Jews. It's a massive problem. I'm worried about the future of France future but we have to live here."
18:25 - 'The first time at a protest people applaud the police'
Street protests in France, especially those in recent months often end up with violent clashes with police, whether its environmentalists, anti-gay marriage or pro-Palestine rallies. Today was different however. The police, who lost three of their officers this week, were applauded by the crowd.
"It's the fist time I've ever seen that," one marcher, named Beatrice, told us.
18:14 - Six months is a long time
The image below was taken in July when anti-Israel / pro-Palestinian demonstrators fought with police at Place de la Republique in Paris. Strange to think that Israel PM and Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas were both in that square today at a march for unity, solidarity and peace.
Will today change anything?
18:06 - Night descends but the streets are still full
It's now about six hours since people started gathering in Paris for today's march, which in the end appears to have been just a sea of people rather than a march. But the streets are still full and the Marseillaise is being sung for what I make to be the 88th time today.
18:03 - Aerial shot of the march/rally/throng/sea of people
18:00 - March took place under high security
17:54 - Another cartoon to add to the list...
17:49 - But it's not just in Paris that they're marching...
This map shows, people have been congregating in their hundreds of thousands, to call for unity, solidarity and freedom.
The numbers are for the numbers of thousands:
17:43 Paris march 'largest ever'
The magnitude of the estimated 2-million strong Paris march was 'unprecedented', the French interior ministry has said, according to AFP as hundreds of thousands of people joined an emotionally-charged rally through the capital.
"The demonstrators are scattered over a much larger area than the routes initially planned for," the ministry said, after one of the march organisers said up to 1.5 million people had flooded Paris
17:38 - Our pencils are stronger than your 'kalashnikovs'
17:35 - Some more images from the march and those who are there:
17:20 - 'I won't change the way I live'
Our reporters at the march have been asking some of those there today whether the attacks will make them change the way they live and the way the country is as a whole.
Emilie, 29, pictured on the left said: "We have to prove we can still be happy while protecting our liberty. It's worth fighting for. I am not afraid. I won't change the way I live , but it's true people are frightened, but it's important not to change."
Her friend, also called Emilie (right), aged 30, said: "This won't help the Muslims and the Jews in France because even before these attacks racism was on the rise in France. I am worried about the far right National Front becoming more powerful because of this. People are really concerned about the next election."
17:15 - From Rome - 'What happened is a real tragedy'
An estimated 500 people gathered outside the French embassy in Rome to show their support with France, while calling on Europeans to come together in the face of a threat that is no longer "far away from home".
People held "I am Charlie" signs in tribute to those who died, others laid flowers and signed a book of condolences.
"What happened was a real tragedy but we all have to come together on this, we are all European," said Patricizia Ponsicchi, from Rome.
"Naturally we do feel a little afraid about any threat against Italy but we have to try and resist this fear otherwise we'll lose our freedom, and without that, what do we have?"
Brigitte is French but has lived in Italy for 38 years.
"This attack has made me more fearful. It's something that no longer feels far away from home. You fear catching a plane, getting on a train or even walking in a busy square."
17:13 - Muslims in Spain show their solidarité
This is from our reporter in Madrid Jessica Jones.
17:11 - Ministers want to boost surveillance
Let's hope not.
16:57 - BREAKING - '1.5 million' people on the streets of Paris
According to organisers there are 1.5 million people on the streets if Paris today. There's at least half a million people on the streets of other towns and cities around France today.
That's how important it is:
16:51 - Support from London
This image shows the pen and pencil tribute in London today.
16:45 - Some images from the rally in Paris:
The placard here says: "Le Pen don't touch my pencil"
16:38 - 'The first time in my life I have protested'
From our reporter on the scene Oliver Gee:
The atmosphere at the march is certainly not one that you'd expect at a march to pay homage to 17 victims of terrorism.
While it may be sombre around at the front of the cortege where the heads of state and the families of the victims are, it certainly isn't among the tens of thousands of people behind them.
It's almost like a huge release of tension that has built up in recent days. You can hear cheers, rounds of applause and many, many renditions of the national anthem.
There's a real sense of defiance and pride.
Julien, aged 30 tells me: "It's the first time in my life I have protested against anything. It's the only cause that's been important enough. Freedom of speech is so important to the French people. It is typically French. It's in our DNA."
16:35 - And they are marching in Rome too:
Where our reporter Rosie Scammell will be reporting from.
Italian man explains his giant pencil, "a tree" for dialogue. pic.twitter.com/15InpdtyLu— Rosie Scammell (@rosiescammell) January 11, 2015
16:32 - Not just France that's been hit by murderous acts in recent days
Just for a bit of perspective, it's worth remembering that while Paris was shaken by three shootings in three days, around 2,000 people, mainly women and children were being slaughtered by Islamic extremists in Nigeria.
16:30 - They are also marching in Dublin:
16:28 - Charlie Hebdo pencil tribute in London
More than a thousand people gathered in London Sunday to honour the victims of Islamist attacks in Paris, raising pensils to the sky in memory of those killed at satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.
Some in the crowd at Trafalgar Square carried placards saying "Je suis Charlie" and waved French flags.
Those attending the event created a giant circle made up of pencils and baguettes which also featured a giant paper heart carrying messages including "I Am A British Muslim" and "Vive La France" (Long Live France).
The demonstration came as hundreds of thousands of people including world leaders joined a unity march through Paris in the wake of the devastating attacks that left 17 dead, most at the magazine and at a Jewish supermarket.
"It's the whole of France that they tried to shoot down and I wanted to say no, it will not be like that. I am here for freedom of the press and freedom of expression equally," Romain Abjean, a French teacher who has lived in Britain for ten years, told AFP.
"I hope that now, in these terrible circumstances, everyone will learn to live together, as in societies like England."
16:24 - Doubts whether Al Qaeda were behind the attacks?
THis pic shows Place de la Republique absolutely packed, with marchers unable to make much progress towards Place de la Nation. According to AFP another 500,000 are marching through towns and cities across the country.
16:13 - Blockage at Republique
Although the march was meant to begin an hour ago, the throng has hardly moved at all. People are reporting that all the streets around Place de La Republique are all blocked.
"I'm in the street parallel to Republique and its not moving at all" one marcher has just texted The Local.
16:08 - 'We are looking each other in the eye today'
A man with Charlie's Angels written on his forehead, who does not want to give his name tells The Local: "Things will never be the same again in France. It's a weird strange atmosphere.
"There is an electric feeling in the air. People are looking each other in the eye for the first time today - as French, as humans. We are concerned but we are trying not to crack under the pressure. Everyone wants to show they are not scared."
16:02 - In memory of the victims
Below are the names of those people killed in the attacks that have brought so many people out on to the streets today.
Clarissa Jean Philippe
15:56 - Hollande comforts families, friends, colleagues of victims
Hollande comforts the editor in chief of Charlie Hebdo Patrick Pelloux, who was in London at the time of the attacks:
The French President has broken away from the front of the march to greet the families of the victims. He's been moving among the families who are just behind the front of the cortege. Hollande hugs the twin brother of one of the policeman who was killed outside the Charlie Hebdo offices on Wednesday and some of the journalists who survived the attack.
Our reporter on the scene Oliver Gee sums up the atmosphere and the sentiment among of the crowd:
"There are people on the streets in every direction, down every street you can see. People are warm, friendly. They are chanting, singing, bursting into spontaneous rounds of applause. There are people hanging off balconies, hanging off trees and lampposts, waving flags. There are those expressing support for Charlie Hebdo, but also for the police and the Jewish community.
Everyone we speak to says how important today's march is for the French people. Freedom of speech is such a core value to the French people and they want to show it today. It's a day for the French to feel proud."
15:44 - A moment of silence
The head of the march stops for what appears to be a minute's silence, broken only by the sound of the photographers snapping away.
15:41 - Some pics from the march:
This top one shows the families of the victims of the Charlie Hebdo killing wearing whie headbands with the name "Charlie".
15:34 - 'Humanity more important than religion'
From our reporter at the Place de la Republique, Oliver Gee:
It's packed as far as the eye can see. The crowd breaks out into the now common chant of "Nous sommes Charlie" (we are Charlie) but also chants of "We are not scared" and "Vive la France".
The mood is upbeat and positive, very different to the mood of the impromptu vigils in the same square over the past few days. People are showing their resilience.
Musician Herve Hennequin, 56 told The Local: "We need to reflect a lot after this week. It's the most important week for France since World War Two. We are different people from different religions. We are human. Today religion is not the most important thing in France, it is humanity."
15:31 - Hollande arm and arm with Merkel
The heads of state are now arm in arm together in a sign of unity. Hollande is linked with Merkel and the presdient of Mali andthey are applauded by people from balconies of apartments above the street. They are waving up at those at cheering them. We can hear chants of "Charlie" coming from above them. They stop and pause regularly, before a throng of cameramen, journalists and security personnel.
15:26 - And the march begins tentatively in silence
Incredible scene of the heads of state lined up almost arm in arm at the head of the march, taking tentative steps to start this historic march of unity.
Behind them are the families and friends of the victims of those killed over the three days of terror.
15:22 - Heads of state at the front of the cortege
15:15 - French ministers and politicians line up at front of cortege
15:11 - 'My heart is with you France'
Support for France has been pouring in from all over the world, including through our Facebook page.
15:06 - Murdered Jews to be buried in Israel
The four people who were killed at the Jewish supermarket on Friday by Amedy Coulibaly will be buried in Israel, a community spokesman told AFP on Sunday.
"The four families decided to bury their dead in Israel. The funerals will be held on Tuesday at 10:00 am in the Mount of Olives cemetery" in Jerusalem, the source said.
14:58 - Sarkozy, Cameron, Rajoy, Samaras on their way to the rally
Never seen so many world leaders queuing up for a bus before.
14:50 - Is France really at war?
A lot of politicians and commentators have talked about France being at war in recent years., whether against terrorism, extremism or even Islam itself.
Here's what Laurent Joffrin the editor of Liberation had to say about it:
Is it war? No. As terrible as it is, as bloody as it's been, terrorism is not war. It looks like it sometimes, of course.
A bloody assault, a hostage taking, an arduous and bloody hunt, a brutal conclusion that ends with the death of the murderers and several hostages.
Paris overrun by armed police vans, and the uninterrupted noise of sirens, deaths added to deaths, echoed infinitely via the countless loudspeakers of the live media...
But yet, terrorism is not war.
Those who call for a state of emergency, who use warlike rhetoric, and are ready to demand exceptional laws, are strongly mistaken. The real war pits armies against each other, causing thousands of deaths, destroying cities and societies.
14:46 - Hollande welcomed leaders earlier:
14:41 - Incredible scenes at Place de le Republique
Huge crowds are now pouring into the square. with reports that Metro trains across Paris are jam packed. Estimates of several hundred thousand people in the area, even if not all of them can squeeze onto the square itself.
THis was the scene earlier but the square is jam-packed now.
14:38 - No room for Netanyahu on the bus
Israeli PM was forced to wait for the next bus to the march after being told the first was full. He was among the world's leaders gathering at the ELysée Palace, who will be bussed to Place de La Republique.
14:35 - Words of the Marseillaise
If you are going to the march you can expect to hear the Marseillaise today:
So here's the lyrics:
14:28 Some images from demonstrations around France today via Twitter
Story continues below…January 11, 2015
14:22 - Ministers discuss fight against terrorism
Before the march today, interior ministers from numerous countries held a conference on how to improve global security to prevent the kind of bloodshed we have seen in Paris in recent days.
On their wish list is for countries to share flight information about suspects and for internet companies to cooperate in tackling terrorism.
"We forcefully noted the need for greater cooperation with Internet companies to guarantee the reporting and removal of illegal content, particularly content that makes apologies for terrorism or promotes violence or hate," said French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve.
14:19 - Shooting of jogger linked to Coulibaly
While the crowds march, the investigation in to the terror attacks is ongoing. We are hearing today that the shooting of a jogger on Wednesday has been linked to the the kosher store gunman Amedy Coulibaly. This from AFP:
French prosecutors said Sunday they had linked the attacker of a Jewish supermarket to the shooting of a jogger in southern Paris just hours after a massacre by two other gunmen at the Charlie Hebdo
In a statement the Paris prosecutor's office said there was a link between "the bullets found in Fontenay-aux-Roses" where the jogger was shot and injured, and those from a Russian Tokarev pistol used by Amedy Coulibaly in the supermarket attack.
14:15 - Certain amount of irony in Paris today
Plenty of people on the Twittersphere pointing out the irony of several world leaders joining today's march for freedom of speech, when their own countries don't exactly have a great track record when it comes to liberty of the press. Russia, Turkey and Egypt, they're talking about you.
#JeSuisCharlie Les dictatures de la planète représentées à Paris... dans la marche "républicaine" Hongrie, Russie, Algérie, Égypte... !— Thierry Achaintre (@TAchaintre) January 11, 2015
14:13 - Families of victims arrive at rally
At the head of the today's rally will be members of the families and the friends of the 17 victims and those left injured in the three attacks. The families have been gathering a short distance from the march and have now been bussed to the head of the rally,where they will lead the cortege alongside the world leaders.
14:09 - Chants of "Charlie, Charlie" and "We are not afraid"
Here's a pic from our reporter Priscillia Charles, who has managed to squeeze her way through the crowds at Place de la Republique.
14:07 - Merkel, Cameron and Netanyahu at the Elysée
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, UK Prime Minister David Cameron and Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu have arrived at the Elysée Palace. They will presumably be bussed over to the start of the march by 3PM.
14: 00 - 'I am Charlie, I am a cop'
Support not just for Charlie Hebdo and freedom of expression, but for the police, three of whom were killed in the three attacks.
13:53 - Hollande first President to march since Mitterrand
When François Hollande lines up alongside marchers on Sunday he'll become the first French president to do so since François Mitterand in 1990. Interestingly Mitterand chose to march to express his disgust at the vandalism of a Jewish cemetery in Carpentras. Four years later several neo-nazis were imprisoned for the attack.
13:51 - People make their way to Republique
13:48 - 'There are no French Jews or French Muslims'
The question of how France's religious communities fit into a secular country has long been a sensitive question, but never more so than today.
French Political journalist Olivier Mazerolle makes it clear: "There are no French Jews or French Muslims, just French people, some of whom are Jewish and some of whom are Muslims".
13:45 - Other rallies around Europe
While all eyes will be on Paris there are other similar rallies taking place around Europe today, including one in Stockholm, which our colleague at The Local Sweden are covering.
13:40 - March being broadcast around the world
Along with the marchers and the politicians, there are also hundreds of members of the world's press who have made Paris their home in recent days. The historic march and its message of unity and resistance against terrorism will be broadcast around the world.
13:37 - 'We are not afraid'
Place de la Republique is already full, not just of French people but there's flags flying from countries around the world alongside the tricolours.
Their chant is "We are not afraid".
13:31 - 'France is strong enough to fight terrorism'
Our reporter Oliver Gee is among the crowds at Place de la Republique this afternoon. He has spoken to a couple of marchers about the significance of today.
"There's never been such a big gathering in France before," said school pupil Claire Lemaire, aged 14. "It's good to know there's a cause to defend and share. This will be an historic moment in the history of France," she added.
Receptioniste Faroudja added: "It's important to march today for liberty. We have to stop the war,the guns, the terrorism, everything. I'm not worried about the future of France. The country is strong. We are strong enough to fight terrorism."
13:23 - Flags and placards
No doubt the French public will be demonstrating their anger over the killings at Charlie Hebdo with placards and banners. Here's an example of a couple, that shows the fallen journalists at the French magazine.
13:19 - World leaders on the streets
Here's a full list of the ministers, prime ministers and presidents who will be marching in Paris today.
French President Francois Hollande
German Chancellor Angela Merkel
British Prime Minister David Cameron
Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi
Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy
Romanian President Klaus Iohannis
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker
European Parliament President Martin Schulz
European Union President Donald Tusk
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg
Polish Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz
Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt
Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte
Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras
Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny
Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy
Portuguese Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho
Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka
Slovakian Prime Minister Robert Fico
Latvian Prime Minister Laimdota Straujuma
Bulgarian Prime Minister Boïko Borissov
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban
Croatian Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic
Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel
Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat
Slovenian Prime Minister Miro Cerar
Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven
Finnish Prime Minister Alexander Stubb
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko
Swiss President Simonetta Sommaruga
Kosovo President Atifete Jahjaga
Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama
Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu
Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg
Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibachvili
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov
Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz
US Attorney General Eric Holder
Canadian Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman
Jordanian King Abdullah II and Queen Rania
Palestinian Authority President Mahmud Abbas
United Arab Emirates Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahayan
Qatari Sheikh Mohamed Ben Hamad Ben Khalifa Al Thani
Bahrain Foreign Minister Sheikh Khaled ben Ahmed Al Khalifa and Prince
Abdullah Ben Hamad al-Khalifa
Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita
Gabonese President Ali Bongo
Niger President Mahamadou Issoufou
Benin President Thomas Boni Yayi
Tunisian Prime Minister Mehdi Jomaa
Algerian Foreign Minister Ramtane Lamamra
13:10 - Tens of thousands in Place de la Republique
Two hours before the march is officially due to begin and Place de la Republique is already packed with tens of thousands of members of the public. If you're heading down to the area you'd be wise to go early. Here's the route the rally will take.
13:00 - Paris the capital of the world today
We're going to kick off this live blog on what is an historic day in France with a quote from President François Hollande.
"Today Paris is the capital of the world", he said. Never before will so many global leaders and so many ordinary folk have taken to the streets together in a united show of defiance and solidarity.
Hollande will join the leaders from the UK, Spain, Italy and Israel and the Palestinian territories in a march of unity. He has called on as many French people as possible to join him and "rise up" against terrorism.
"The entire country will rise up," he told ministers, according to his entourage, as the country reels from an Islamist killing spree that left 17 people dead.
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