Thousands say ‘Je suis Charlie!’ in Lisbon solidarity demonstration

Thousands say ‘Je suis Charlie!’ in Lisbon solidarity demonstration

As shock and pain is felt around the world, more than 2,000 people gathered in Lisbon’s Praça dos Restauradores yesterday evening (January 8) to pay their respects to the victims of the terrorist attack on Parisian satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, which left 12 people dead on Wednesday.

Organised by a group of journalists led by Portugal-based French freelance journalist Marie-Line Darcy, the show of support was joined by people from all walks of life including popular Portuguese comedians and writers.

Following a lengthy moment of silence, the crowd chanted ‘Je suis Charlie’ as a way to pay their respects to the victims of the attack and to take a stance “against fear”.

“The attack was an act that aimed to silence people, newspapers and freedom of speech,” Darcy told Lusa news agency.

And although she admitted that many of the people who showed up for the demonstration were not fans of the satirical publication, Darcy said the attack was a threat to everyone’s freedom and many wanted to stand for the right to “freedom of speech and press”.

“It wasn’t a consensual newspaper – there are people who didn’t like it but who are here today as a symbolic act to defend democracy and freedom,” she explained.

Well-known Portuguese comedian Ricardo Araújo Pereira commended the cartoonists’ “courage”.

“If I knew these would be the consequences of my work, I’d change my job immediately,” he said. “I wouldn’t have the same courage. I’m not a hero.”

Meantime, the two brothers believed to have masterminded the attack in the name of the Islamic State are reported by BBC to be surrounded by police in a building in Dammartin-en-Goele, over 30kms away from Paris. It is reported that they have taken a hostage.

By MICHAEL BRUXO [email protected]