WORLD

Giant Solidarity March in Paris: France, world vow to combat terrorism with “a cry for freedom”

* Romania’s President Klaus Iohannis was among the senior political figures marching behind the families of victims of the terror attacks.

Over one million people flooded the streets of Paris on Sunday in a historic march of solidarity against terrorism following this week’s terrorist attacks in the French capital. The mass rally was joined by approximately 50 world leaders and among them were the leaders of Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Thus, the City of Light became the City of Solidarity against terrorism. United under the banner “ freedom of speech and liberty”, the participants held signs reading “Je suis Charlie”, the tribute to Charlie Hebdo that has been the global rallying point in the wake of the slaughter, and were led by the families of those who died in the shootings that shook France, leading royalty and heads of state. “Today, Paris is the capital of the world,” French President Francois Hollande said. “The entire country will rise up,” he told. Along with French president François Hollande were German chancellor Angela Merkel, British prime minister David Cameron, Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi, Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy, Romanian president Klaus Iohannis, European commission president Jean-Claude Juncker, European parliament president Martin Schulz and EU president Donald Tusk, the Nato secretary general Jens Stoltenberg, Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko, Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov and Austrian foreign minister Sebastian Kurz, the US, attorney general Eric Holder, the Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Jordanian King Abdullah II and Queen Rania, Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas etc.

 

‘We are walking together, as one Europe, Africa, the Middle East against terrorism’ was the message.

 

They broke into spontaneous applause amid cheers, chants of “Charlie, Charlie” and choruses of the French national anthem La Marseillaise as the rally got under way from the Place de la Republique, a traditional location for demonstrations.

In emotional scenes, Hollande hugged the family and friends of those who died, moving from Charlie Hebdo staff and relatives of the police officers who were gunned down to the families of the supermarket victims.

Around 2,200 security personnel have been deployed to guard the route of the march, has run three kilometres from the historic Place de la Republique to Place de la Nation in the east of the capital,, with snipers stationed on rooftops.

The United States will host a summit on February 18 on how to fight “violent extremism around the world” in the wake of the Paris attacks, US Attorney General Eric Holder said in the French capital.

 

Silence march of solidarity at Iasi

 

More than 100 people responded to the initiative of the French students studying at the universities in Iasi (east), under the Erasmus programme, and participated in a silence march on Sunday, organized following the tragic events that occurred recently in France.

The group, made up of Francophone students, professors and people of culture, started the march from Unirii Square to the French Institute of Iasi. There, they observed one minute’s silence in memory of those who died during the recent attacks of Islamic radicals, in France.

‘Freedom of speech is a fundamental right. I felt the need to show with this right, which is above religion and any kind of convictions. When spirit speaks, weapons must be silent,’ said theatre critic Oltita Cintec, artistic director of the ‘Luceafarul’ Children’s Theatre.

Also, the Paris tragedy was recalled on Sunday in the religious service that commemorated 70 years since the deportation of 70,000 Saxons and Swabians from Romania to Soviet labour camps, with President Klaus Iohannis in the attendance.

Photo: Reuters

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