A man in Trafalgar Square, London, holds up a notepad during a Wednesday vigil in solidarity with those killed in an attack at the Paris offices of weekly newspaper "Charlie Hebdo." AP/Matt Dunham

Across Europe, people have taken to the streets in support of free speech after a deadly terrorist attack against France's most controversial satirical publication.

More than a hundred thousand people across Europe have gathered this evening in a show of support for the victims of the terrorist attack inside the offices of the French satirical publication Charlie Hebdo.

Late-morning Wednesday, three masked gunmen forced their way into the publication's offices during a staff meeting, killing 10 of Charlie Hebdo's staff members and two police officers. As reported by the New York Times, amateur video outside the publication's offices show the assailants shouting, “We have avenged the Prophet Muhammad. We have killed Charlie Hebdo!”

The shooters are currently at large, and French president François Hollande has since raised the country's terror alert to its highest status.

From Paris' Place de la Republique to the French Embassy in Berlin, Europeans have gathered, holding up pens and signs that read "Je Suis Charlie" as displays of solidarity and support for free speech.  

The anti-religion, anti-authoritarian weekly paper has long been a source of controversy. Its predecessor, Hara-Kiri Hebdo, was ordered shut down in 1970 by the French Minister of the Interior after publishing an inflammatory joke about the death of president Charles de Gaulle. After changing its name, Charlie Hebdo ceased publication between 1981 and 1992. Its cartoon portrayals of the prophet Mohammed in recent years have generated condemnations by political leaders and lawsuits from Islamic organizations. In 2011, Charlie Hebdo's offices were firebombed after the publication announced that its upcoming issue would be "guest edited" by Mohammed.

From the pages of Charlie Hebdo to Les Guignols de l'info's unflattering puppet portrayals of public figures on the nation's television sets, satire has always played a significant role in French discourse. As tonight's demonstrations show, few want that to change—even after today's tragedy.

People gather near EU headquarters in Brussels Wednesday in support of victims of a terror shooting at Charlie Hebdo's offices in Paris. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)
People gather in front of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, Germany, to express solidarity with those killed Wednesday. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)
Flowers and a board reading " I am Charlie" are set up in Paris, France, during a demonstration Wednesday. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)
People demonstrate at the French Consulate in Barcelona, Spain, Wednesday. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)
People light candles outside the French embassy in Stockholm in support of the victims of Wednesday's terror attack. (AP Photo/TT News Agency, Claudio Bresciani)
Demonstrators hold a banner reading " I am Charlie" during a gathering at the Old Port of Marseille, southern France, on Wednesday. (AP Photo/Claude Paris)
French demonstrators gather at the Place de la Republique after Wednesday's shooting. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. A photo of an abandoned building in Providence, Rhode Island.
    Perspective

    There's No Such Thing as a Dangerous Neighborhood

    Most serious urban violence is concentrated among less than 1 percent of a city’s population. So why are we still criminalizing whole areas?

  2. a photo of cyclists riding beside a streetcar in the Mid Market neighborhood in San Francisco, California.
    Transportation

    San Francisco’s Busiest Street Is Going Car-Free

    A just-approved plan will redesign Market Street to favor bikes, pedestrians, and public transit vehicles. But the vote to ban private cars didn’t happen overnight.

  3. a photo of a WeWork office building
    Life

    What WeWork’s Demise Could Do to NYC Real Estate

    The troubled coworking company is the largest office tenant in New York City. What happens to the city’s commercial real estate market if it goes under?

  4. Bicycle riders on a package-blocked bicycle lane
    Perspective

    Why Do Micromobility Advocates Have Tiny-Demand Syndrome?

    In the 1930s big auto dreamed up freeways and demanded massive car infrastructure. Micromobility needs its own Futurama—one where cars are marginalized.

  5. a photo of Extinction Rebellion climate change protesters in London
    Environment

    When Climate Activists Target Public Transit

    The climate protest movement Extinction Rebellion is facing a backlash after disrupting commuters on the London Underground.

×