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"Je Suis Charlie": Vigils Held Around The World For Charlie Hebdo Victims

Demonstrators gathered in town squares and at French embassies to show their support for the 12 people who were gunned down Wednesday in Paris.

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Crowds gathered in cities across the world Wednesday in a show of solidarity with Paris after 12 people there were gunned down at a satirical newspaper.

From Berlin to Copenhagen, London, and New York, people bearing candles, signs, and pens gathered in town squares and embassies to show their support for freedom of expression in the face of Wednesday's massacre.

The attack at satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo left at least 12 dead and 11 wounded, French officials said. The newspaper has a history of satirizing many religions, including Islam, and in 2011, its office was firebombed after running a cartoon depicting the Prophet Muhammed.

On Wednesday, the assailants shouted that they were avenging the prophet during the attack. As of late Wednesday, two of the three assailants being sought by French authorities were still at large after one of them, an 18-year-old man, reportedly turned himself in.

The brutal attack, which also killed two policemen, shocked not only France, but the world.

In Washington, D.C., a crowd of nearly 200 gathered at The Newseum — a museum dedicated to the history of media — holding the ubiquitous signs bearing the words "Je suis Charlie," or "I am Charlie."

In the bitter cold, there were also shouts of "Liberté de la presse!" and "Liberté d'expression!"

Organizers read the names of the 12 shooting victims aloud at the gathering outside The Newseum Wednesday night.


"Journalists were murdered by terrorists in the offices of the satirical French newspaper Charlie Hebdo on Jan. 7, but their story was not silenced," one of the signs read. "The Newseum joins with journalists and all others who support freedom of expression to declare that such cowardly attempts to thwart free speech and a free press will not succeed, and that all people should be able to express themselves freely and without fear."

International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde, who is French, was in attendance, greeting people in the crowd and speaking to reporters.

Speaking in French and noting Americans' experience with the 9/11 attacks, Lagarde praised the U.S. response to the attack, calling it "a reaction of solidarity, friendship, and support."

"The only thing that I can express is horror and stupefaction and consternation at what has happened this morning in Paris," Lagarde said in English.

"It's an attack against the freedom of speech," she added, "and what it changes is that you have masses of people who are gathered here in Washington, you have masses of people standing up to say freedom of the press is critical."

Asked by BuzzFeed News for her opinion on news outlets that have decided not to publish images of the Charlie Hebdo, Lagarde said she didn't want to pass judgment.

The vigil was organized by French expats in the Washington area.

"It's for freedom of speech," one of the organizers told ThinkProgress earlier on Wednesday. "I don't want [the shooters] to scare anybody; I want to show them that we're not scared."

Marie Telling / Via

The crowd, which included a large contingent of French expatriates, held signs that read "Je suis Charlie." Some chanted "We are not afraid," and "Charlie."

AP / Matt Dunham

Burning candles and flowers rested on top of a pile of pens and posters reading "I am Charlie" in French and English in Trafalgar Square in London. One demonstrator told a BuzzFeed News reporter at the scene that he was "still shaking" over the attack.

Jason Wells contributed to this report.

Rosie Gray is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Washington, D.C. Gray reports on politics and foreign policy.

Contact Rosie Gray at

Marie Telling is a Senior Writer & Producer for BuzzFeed Food and Tasty and is based in New York.

Contact Marie Telling at

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