France Honours Charlie Hebdo Attack Victims


Paris: France has marked the first anniversary of the attacks in Paris which started at the offices of Charlie Hebdo magazine and ended with 17 people killed. President Francois Hollande unveiled plaques outside the publication’s offices, at the spot where a policeman was shot and at a supermarket where more were murdered a year ago this week. He was accompanied by families of those who died, Prime Minister Manuel Valls and the Mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo.

It comes nearly two months after later attacks, claimed by Islamic State, that saw another 130 people killed by extremists.Nearby the Charlie Hebdo offices, a message of support for the Muslim officer who was shot dead while responding to the attack was painted on the pavement, reading “Je suis Ahmed,” or “I am Ahmed”.

Ahmed Merabet was trying to stop two heavily armed men from fleeing the scene and was gunned down. Two Kalashnikov-wielding brothers had stormed into the offices of the satirical magazine on the morning of 7 January, 2015, while an editorial meeting was under way before killing 11 people.

The “Je suis Ahmed” slogan was adapted into “Je suis Charlie” to provide a way for millions of people around the world to show their support for freedom of speech and reject the terrorists’ ideas. Another terrorist killed four people at a kosher supermarket in an attack that revived concerns about anti-Semitism in the country with Europe’s largest Jewish community.

A siege at the supermarket in Porte de Vincennes ended on 9 January when police carried out a raid and shot Amedy Coulibaly dead. The two brothers who attacked the magazine, Said and Cherif Kouchai, died around the same time when they too were shot by marksmen.

In its anniversary edition, Charlie Hebdo accuses Islamic fundamentalists, organised religion, an irresolute government and intelligence failures for the violence in France in 2015.The widow of a bodyguard killed at the Charlie Hebdo offices said on Tuesday she wants an investigation into security there. Ingrid Brinsolaro said her husband “saw dysfunctions” and “it was impossible to do his job correctly in these conditions.”