The bells of Notre Dame cathedral in Paris tolled, public transport was halted and many in France stood in the rain today for a minute of silence observed on behalf of the ten journalists and two police officers killed in a deadly attack at the offices of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.
French President Francois Hollande ordered flags at half-staff following the assault on Wednesday carried out by suspected Islamist extremists, apparently hoping to avenge the magazine’s publication of cartoons satirizing the Prophet Muhammad. Four of the publication’s cartoonists, including its outspoken editor, appeared to have been the main targets and were among the dead.
Crowds stood silently in public spaces, schools and office buildings, pelted by a cold rain. Some held signs that read “Je suis Charlie,” or “I am Charlie,” which has quickly emerged as a succinct rallying cry and hashtag for those opposed to the violence. Many in France and around the world see it as a direct assault on freedom of expression.
At the offices of the wire service Agence-France Presse, employees stood at their desks and at windows facing holding signs in support of their colleagues.
Many European newspapers re-published the cartoons deemed offensive or published editorial statements of their own in support of Charlie Hebdo.
“The latest tweet on Charlie Hebdo’s account was a cartoon of the Islamic State militant group leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
“Charlie Hebdo’s website, which went offline during the attack, is showing the single image of “Je suis Charlie” (“I am Charlie”) on a black banner, referring to a hashtag that is trending on Twitter in solidarity with the victims.”