A million march against terror
World leaders have linked arms at the start of a historic march against terrorism in Paris.
They walked in silence to huge applause as they led a mammoth procession through the French capital.
Dozens of world leaders, including Muslim and Jewish statesmen, joined up to a million demonstrators marching in Paris.
They marched amid high security in an unprecedented tribute to victims of this week’s Islamist militant attacks.
President Francois Hollande and leaders from Ireland, Germany, Italy, Israel, Turkey, Britain and the Palestinian territories among others, moved off from the Place de la Republique ahead of a sea of French and other flags.
Giant letters attached to a statue in the square spelt out the word Pourquoi?” (Why?) and small groups sang the ‘La Marseillaise’, France’s national anthem.
Some 2,200 police and soldiers patrolled Paris streets to protect marchers from would-be attackers.
Police snipers can be seen on rooftops and plain-clothes detectives mingling with the crowd.
City sewers were searched ahead of the vigil and underground train stations around the march route are due to be closed down.
The silent march, which may prove the largest seen in modern times through Paris, reflects shock over the worst militant Islamist assault on a European city in nine years.
For France, it raised questions of free speech, religion and security, and beyond French frontiers it exposed the vulnerability of states to urban attacks.
“Paris is today the capital of the world. Our entire country will rise up and show its best side,” said Mr Hollande.
Seventeen people, including journalists and police, were killed in three days of violence.
The violence began with a shooting attack on the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo on Wednesday.
It ended with a hostage-taking at a Jewish deli in which four hostages were killed.
Overnight, an illuminated sign on the Arc de Triomphe read: “Paris est Charlie” (“Paris is Charlie”).
“We’re not going to let a little gang of hoodlums run our lives,” said Fanny Appelbaum, 75, who said she lost two sisters and a brother in the Nazi concentration camp at Auschwitz. “Today, we are all one.”
“The march will be an unprecedented demonstration that will be go down in the history books,” Prime Minister Manuel Valls said.
12 people were killed in Wednesday’s initial attack on Charlie Hebdo, a journal know for satirising religions and politicians.
The attackers, two French-born brothers of Algerian origin, singled out the weekly for its publication of cartoons depicting and ridiculing the Prophet Mohammad.
All three gunmen were killed in what local commentators have called “France’s 9/11”, a reference to the September 2001 attacks on US targets by al-Qaeda. (RTE News)