Hollande: ‘Unity is France’s best weapon’
In a televised address, Hollande said ‘nothing can divide us. Freedom will always be stronger than barbarity’
French President Francois Hollande described “unity” as his country’s “best weapon” after suspected extremist militants killed 12 people in an against a satirical paper in Paris on Wednesday.
“Nothing can divide us, nothing should separate us. Freedom will always be stronger than barbarity,” Hollande said in a televised address to the nation after the attack, which is considered to be France’s deadliest such attack in more than half a century.
Thursday will also mark the fifth time in the last 50 years France has declared a day of mourning.
He praised the “courageous chroniclers” of the satirical Charlie Hebdo magazine. Four of the 12 who were killed were Charlie Hebdo staff, including the editor-in-chief Stephane Charbonnier and famous cartoonist Jean Cabut.
It is not the first time the paper has faced a violent encounter with Islamists. In 2011, Charlie Hebdo’s offices were destroyed in a firebombing after it announced a special “Charia Hebdo” edition with Islam’s Prophet Mohammed jokingly referred to as guest editor.
The last tweet published by Charlie Hebdo featured a picture mocking ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi wishing him good health.
“Through their influence, their insolence and their independence, they touched the French generation after generation,” Hollande said.
He added: “We will continue to defend this message of freedom in their name.”
When visiting the scene of the attack, Hollande called the assault “an act of exceptional barbarism.”
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