Canadians join worldwide unity marches in support of Paris
Published Sunday, January 11, 2015 1:41PM EST
Last Updated Sunday, January 11, 2015 4:52PM EST
Thousands of Canadians marched in solidarity with the citizens of France on Sunday at a unity rally in Montreal following the terrorist attacks in Paris earlier in the week.
Montreal demonstrators marched in silence as they braved frigid temperatures in a gesture of support for a massive rally happening at the same time in Paris, France.
The Montreal march was the largest in Canada and one of several staged around the world after a week of terror attacks against police, satirical cartoonists and Jewish shoppers in Paris. A total of 17 people were killed in three Islamic extremist-inspired attacks that began Wednesday and ended Friday.
Sunday's peaceful Canadian demonstration began at 11 a.m. with a silent march to the French consulate in Montreal. Marchers carried pencils, political cartoons, peace flags and "Je suis Charlie" signs in a show of defiance over the attack that left six cartoonists dead at the offices of the magazine Charlie Hebdo on Wednesday. Many waved flags from France and Quebec.
Marchers occasionally broke into chants of "Je suis Charlie!" during the demonstration, and they sang the French national anthem outside the consulate of France.
Cities across the country also held rallies to show for support for Paris:
- In Ottawa, a solidarity rally organized by the French Embassy drew 400 people to Confederation Park.
- In Toronto, dignitaries including Mayor John Tory and Finance Minister Joe Oliver joined hundreds who rallied in front of city hall to honour the victims.
- In Vancouver, people carrying “Je Suis Charlie” signs gathered on the steps of the Vancouver Art Gallery in the rain.
Hundreds of Torontonians gather in Nathan Phillips Square to show support for the people of France. pic.twitter.com/S4Zeul2hUR— Scott Lightfoot (@slightfootCTV) January 11, 2015
In France, tens of thousands turned out in Paris to show their resilience after a week of horror. Several world leaders linked arms at the front of the march. Canadian Minister of Public Safety Steven Blaney was in France to represent Canada at the rally.
Elsewhere in the world, thousands of people showed their defiance in the face of the attacks with demonstrations in several major cities. Each one took a different shape, but the phrase "Je suis Charlie" was ubiquitous.
A diverse crowd of about 18,000 German, English, French and Russian speakers turned out in Berlin to show their solidarity with France. Many carried "Je suis Charlie" signs, while others held up signs with "I am a Jew" written in French.
Several hundred Israelis gathered in Jerusalem on Sunday to mourn the deaths of the Jewish hostages killed during thean attack on a kosher market in Paris. Some carried signs saying "Israel is Charlie."
There was a strong Muslim presence at the demonstration in Madrid, where hundreds carried banners saying "Not in our name." A group of Muslim religious leaders delivered a wreath to the French Embassy with the message "In solidarity with France" written on it.
Muslim demonstrators in Beirut and the West Bank city of Ramallah denounced the actions of the Islamic extremists behind the Paris attacks.
Australians held a unity rally on Sunday at Syndey's Martin Place, the site of an extremist-inspired hostage crisis last month that left two victims dead.
Britain lit several of its London landmarks with the colours of the French flag as people chanted "Je sus Charlie" outside the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square.
Hundreds of mostly French-speaking New Yorkers rallied at Washington Square Park, where a leather-clad pole dancer waved a "Je suis Charlie" sign high over the crowd.
Smaller demonstrations involving mostly French citizens took place in Moscow and Tokyo.
With files from the Associated Press