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Charlie Hebdo anniversary
France marks one year anniversary of Charlie Hebdo attack
Photo: AFP

France marks one year anniversary of Charlie Hebdo attack

AFP/The Local · 7 Jan 2016, 12:17

Published: 07 Jan 2016 12:17 GMT+01:00
Updated: 07 Jan 2016 12:17 GMT+01:00

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On Thursday President Francois Hollande addressed a gathering of anti-terror security forces at Paris's police headquarters, exactly one year after the attack, one of the most shocking in a bloody year for France.

The January 7 shootings at the Charlie Hebdo offices, which left 12 dead, were followed by an unprecedented series of killings in subsequent months that culminated in Islamic State attacks on Paris that left 130 dead.

The president paid tribute to those officers who died " so we could live freely".

Hollande also detailed plans toughening laws against organised crime and terrorism in his remarks to police.

President Francois Hollande called Thursday for better cooperation between French security services to prevent terror attacks, a year after the Charlie Hebdo killings in Paris.

"Faced with these adversaries, it is essential that every service -- police, gendarmerie, intelligence, military -- work in perfect harmony, with the greatest transparency, and that they share all the information at their disposal," Hollande said.

The reforms aim to introduce measures including more flexible rules of engagement for armed police and stronger stop-and-search powers.

Charlie Hebdo has continued to raise ire, refusing self-censorship in the wake of the attacks, working from ultra-secure offices in a top-secret location.

On Wednesday it published a typically provocative special edition featuring a gun-toting God, sparking protests from the Vatican.

The cover of the anniversary edition features a bloodstained, bearded God-figure in sandals with a Kalashnikov slung over his shoulder under the headline: "One year on: the killer is still at large."

The controversial cover is typical of the fiercely secular publication whose drawings of the Prophet Mohammed drew the fury of Muslims around the world and inspired the bloody attack on its offices.

Jihadist brothers Said and Cherif Kouachi gunned down eight Charlie staff as well as several others in and around the building in the assault, which began three days of terror in Paris.

The attack, claimed by Al-Qaeda's branch in the Arabian Peninsula, was not the first on the publication, which was firebombed in 2011.

The bloodshed stunned a nation that has become a target for jihadists and was again plunged into shock in November when 130 people were killed and hundreds more were wounded in coordinated attacks around Paris.

Story continues below…

Charlie Hebdo, a struggling publication that gained bittersweet fame after the attacks and became a symbol of freedom of speech, has printed one million copies of the anniversary edition.

While millions rushed to buy the first edition after the attack, circulation of the controversial publication has slowed to about 100,000 copies a week and there were no crowds trying to buy the anniversary edition.

The Vatican criticised the anniversary edition's cover for failing to "acknowledge or to respect believers' faith in God, regardless of the religion".

"Behind the deceptive flag of uncompromising secularism, the weekly is forgetting once more what religious leaders of every faith unceasingly repeat... using God to justify hatred -- is a genuine blasphemy, as Pope Francis has said several times."

AFP/The Local (ben.mcpartland@thelocal.com)

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