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Following the series of terrorist attacks in Paris this past week, French security strengthens in preparation for rallies being held across the nation in response to the attacks. On Saturday the nation showed its solidarity by uniting in crowds of tens of thousands across France including Paris, Nice, and Toulouse. Despite the increase in French security to allow for the demonstrations to take place safely, many fear the growing racial tensions in the wake of the acts of terrorism.
On Saturday, French citizens across the nation gathered to show their unity in the face of the terrorist attack committed against Charlie Hebdo, a French satirical magazine responsible for cartoons depicting the prophet Mohammed which triggered the fatal attack. Twelve were killed in the gruesome act of violence against the magazine, the worst terrorist attack in nine years for the nation. Many French gathered with signs reading, “Je suis Charlie (I am Charlie),” as they placed pens at the feet of France’s Statue of the Republic signaling their remembrance of those killed in Wednesday’s attack against Charlie Hebdo.
Security in Paris as well as in other cities across the nation strengthened in response to the large demonstrations and rallies shown in solidarity with the victims. French officials said that approximately 2,000 police and 1,350 soldiers would be protecting those in attendance of the march held this Sunday, Jan. 11. In addition to the increase in security, public transportation is said to be free for French citizens this Sunday in preparation for the march against terrorism.
Despite efforts put forth by police in Paris and across France, many have a growing fear of coming terrorist attacks. Just this week three separate groups were attacked as shown in the signs that read, “Je suis Charlie,” “Je suis Flic (policeman)” and “Je suis Casher (Jewish).” Twelve were killed in the attack against Charlie Hebdo, one of which was a policeman, and four Jewish citizens were killed in a hostage situation on Friday at a kosher grocery store. France stands together in unity to show they will not bow down to terrorism, but still many fear what these attacks might mean for the nation.
As demonstrations flood Paris and other cities throughout France, the question of freedom of speech and freedom of the press is on everyone’s mind. French Prime Minister Manuel Valls says that indignation in light of the events must be “absolute and total” not just for three days but permanently. He hopes the rally will convey to perpetrators that France stands together with “love of freedom and tolerance.” With shirts, signs and stickers all touting the same message and symbolic gestures shown in the form of inflatable pencils and pens, France certainly delivers the message of unity and remembrance.
The rally to begin in Paris at 3 p.m. this Sunday will have strengthened security for all who plan to participate in the event. As those stand in unity with signs and symbols to honor the victims of those killed in this week’s series of terrorist attacks, France delivers a powerful message of love and acceptance to perpetrators. All that can be done in the aftermath of these events is to remember and honor those affected, and, as French officials have shown in their increase in security, to ensure that the events do not happen again.
By Carly Szabo
Photo by Thierry Chervel – Flickr License
Featured Photo by thierry ducornetz – Flickr License