‘Je Suis Charlie’ solidarity at city rally

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#JeSuisCharlie solidarity event in Liverpool following the Paris terror attacks. Pic by Nicole Quinn © JMU Journalism

‘Je Suis Charlie’ solidarity event in Liverpool following the Paris terror attacks. Pic by Nicole Quinn © JMU Journalism

Liverpool joined cities around the world in a march of solidarity as hundreds turned out to pay their respects to the victims and those affected by the targeted terrorist attacks in Paris, along with speaking up for the values of freedom.

More than 400 gathered in the city centre on Sunday afternoon in a show of support for France and Parisians in the wake of three days of shocking connected events, which claimed the lives of 17 people, as well as the three men who had admitted carrying out the killings.

World leaders joined an estimated 1.6 million people marching on the streets of the French capital, with simultaneous rallies taking part in London and many other cities. The murder spree, which began with the shootings of the editor and leading cartoonists at controversial satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, led to the rallying call of ‘Je Suis Charlie’ across the globe.

The local demonstration was set up via the Facebook group ‘Français à Liverpool’, with one of the coordinators, Alizee Bezzi from the South of France, telling JMU Journalism: We’ve met because of this. It’s sad in a way but we’re happy that people are showing up and gathering for support and wanting to be involved.”

Pens and pencils – symbolising press freedoms – and flowers were laid in commemoration in Derby Square when the march concluded with a minute’s silence after a display of red, white and blue tricolour flags and slogans being waved by French nationals, Merseysiders and others from further afield.

Another leading figure at the event in town, Vincent Moog from Metz, told JMU Journalism: “The most important thing is to gather support from people of other nationalities because Liverpool is a very cultural city.

#JeSuisCharlie solidarity event in Liverpool following the Paris terror attacks. Pic by Nicole Quinn © JMU Journalism

‘Je Suis Charlie’ solidarity event in Liverpool following the Paris terror attacks. Pic by Nicole Quinn © JMU Journalism

“Being part of the French community, it’s normal to want to do something to support all the people who died defending freedom of speech.”

Liverpudlian Lyn White said: “The attacks were just horrendous. I just wanted to be here to support the French people and what’s going on in Paris. Everyone should be part of this.”

Her sentiments were echoed by Bill Connolly from Litherland, who said: “It’s a sombre occasion, but we’ve got to show a united front against the atrocities that happened during the week. It’s all about living in a democracy.”

Karmen Woodhope travelled to the city from Manchester especially for the rally. She told JMU Journalism: “What struck me today was that both my grandad and father fought in the wars to protect our freedom of speech and thought. I’m here representing them… they would have been here supporting this today.”

Synagogues in Liverpool have stepped up their security measures since the attacks and Merseyside Police were ordered to don body armour, but a force spokesman said there is no current intelligence to suggest there is a specific threat on Merseyside or to the UK mainland.

In Paris, brothers Said and Cherif Kouachi, who claimed to be avenging the Prophet Muhammad and representing Al Qaeda, were eventually killed by French security forces on Friday, shortly before alleged accomplice Amedy Coulibaly – who stated his allegiance to Islamic State – died separately in a kosher supermarket siege shoot-out.

Additional reporting/galleries by Nicole Quinn & Lauren Reece. Click on a thumbnail to enlarge images

Hundreds march at the #JeSuisCharlie solidarity event in Liverpool following the Paris terror attacks. Pics by Nicole Quinn © JMU Journalism Hundreds march at the #JeSuisCharlie solidarity event in Liverpool following the Paris terror attacks. Pics by Nicole Quinn © JMU Journalism

About Jack Rhodes Bernays, JMU Journalism