An estimated 1.3 million people are still marching through the streets of Paris this evening in a show of unity that follows last week’s devastating terrorist attacks.
International news networks today continued their blanket coverage, which began Wednesday with the initial deadly assault on the offices of the Charlie Hebdo newspaper, and stretched through two fatal stand-offs with alleged perpetrators on Friday.
CNN, BBC World, Euronews and other news outlets offered up images of some 50 world leaders gathering at the Place de la République at 3 PM local time for the 3-km walk (a little more than 1 mile) to the Place de la Nation in the 12th Arrondissement. France’s main broadcast networks also mobilized to cover the event all afternoon and into this evening.
Among those present alongside French President François Hollande were German Chancellor Angela Merkel, British Prime Minister David Cameron, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
French philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy called the day “historic,” given the dignitaries walking shoulder-to-shoulder in front of the cameras. Lévy told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour today, “France is back.”
Frédéric Mitterand, the former French culture minister and nephew of the late president, said he was pleasantly surprised by the “warmth and gaiety” in the crowd. “This is everyone together.”
There were other rallies in cities big and small all over France this weekend, attracting what officials estimated were another 1.2 million marchers. Today’s Paris march is said to be the biggest since 1945, outpacing the last time Parisians took to the streets in droves when the French national football team won the World Cup on July 12, 1998.
Separately, the Hamburger Morgenpost, a German newspaper that reprinted some of Charlie Hebdo’s controversial cartoons depicting the prophet Muhammad, was the apparent target of an arson attack. Two people have reportedly been detained. There were no injuries.