Cartoonists around the world have reacted to a terrorist attack on the Charlie Hebdo office in Paris which left 12 dead.
President Francois Hollande has declared Thursday a national day of mourning. “Today the French Republic as a whole was the target,” he said.
IN MEMORY OF MY COLLEAGUES AND FRIENDS FROM CHARLIE HEBDO, a cartoon for the International New York Times pic.twitter.com/2v21S7ZmGJ
— Chappatte Cartoons (@PatChappatte) January 7, 2015
Thousands have taken to the streets around the world in an act of solidarity, brandishing the sign “Je Suis Charlie”: I am Charlie/We are Charlie. Charlie Hebdo is a weekly satirical magazine which has repeatedly lampooned religious fanaticism of all kinds, including Islamic extremism. The senior staff were meeting in their Paris headquarters to discuss their next edition when hooded men wearing bulletproof vests stormed the offices on Wednesday morning.
Ten employees were shot dead and several seriously wounded. Among the dead was the editor, senior cartoonist and publisher, Stephane Charbonnier. Two policeman were shot dead as the attackers fled. One, lying wounded and helpless on a pavement, was then executed by the attackers.
— Steve Marmel (@Marmel) January 7, 2015
— David Pope (@davpope) January 7, 2015
Twitter has been flooded with cartoons and the hashtag #JeSuisCharlie as publications, cartoonists and users worldwide react to the tragedy and express their sympathies. One of the most commonly retweeted was a cartoon by David Pope of the Canberra Times, who was a personal acquaintance of one of the four cartoonist victims. Vigils are also being held in Rio de Janeiro, Lyon, New York’s Union Square, Paris’ Place de la Republique and London’s Trafalgar Square.
— amol rajan (@amolrajan) January 7, 2015
There have been unconfirmed reports the youngest of the suspects has handed himself into police. Agence France-Presse reported 18-year-old Hamyd Mourad handed himself in at the Belgian border after seeing his name on social media.
Two brothers have also been named as suspects in the attack. Police are hunting for Said and Cherif Kouachi, both French nationals in their early 30s, and have appealed for any public information on the men. Arrest warrants have been issued and the police say the brothers are “likely armed and dangerous”.
The last cartoon sent out on Twitter by Charlie Hebdo, moments before the massacre showed the leader of the Islamic State, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, presenting a New Year message saying “and especially good health!” The cartoon was drawn by 73-year-old Phillipe Honore, an employee of the magazine since 1992, and one of the victims of the deadly attack. The cartoon has been retweeted 32,000 times.
Meilleurs vœux, au fait. pic.twitter.com/a2JOhqJZJM
— Charlie Hebdo (@Charlie_Hebdo_) January 7, 2015
The list of victims include Charbonnier, 47, Jean Cabut, the 76-year-old lead cartoonist, Bernard Verlhac, a 57-year-old member of Cartoonists for Peace, Michel Renaud, a former journalist who was visiting the office, and Frederic Boisseau, a building maintenance worker.
It is believed the gunmen initially entered the wrong building before making their way to the magazine’s office; killing a man in the entrance hall before heading to the second floor where the Charlie Hebdo staff were meeting. It has been suggested the men knew when to attack as the offices were generally empty on most days of the week.
One of the cartoonists for the magazine said the men, who spoke perfect French, claimed to be al-Qaeda. No one has officially taken responsibility for the attack, but witnesses reported hearing the men shout “Allahu akbar” as they entered the office and “tell the media that it is al-Qaeda in Yemen” as they fled the scene.
Amateur footage broadcast on French television shows two hooded men leaving the building, wounding 42-year-old policeman Ahmed Merabe before one doubles back to shoot the officer in the head. The men escaped in a car, heading towards the north-eastern outskirts of the city where it collided with a Volkswagen and injured the female driver. The car was abandoned near Buttes-Chaumont park, where the men hijacked another car.
— Loïc Sécheresse (@loicsecheresse) January 7, 2015
Paris is in lockdown, with troops and armed police guarding railway stations and media buildings. Security guards for the famed department store Galeries Lafayette have also been instructed to keep their eyes open for the attackers, but have been warned “if they are armed, don’t start a war – hide yourself”. The French government has raised the capital’s alert to the highest level and roughly 500 armed police have been deployed across the city.
Tourist sites and places of worship have also been put under heavy guard and schools are on high alert as the search for the men continues. – Compiled from internet sources by Naomi Winner