Republican marches  

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"Millions of French people came out onto the streets to define, as a priority of their society, the right to pour scorn on the religion of the weak."--Who is Charlie? (2015) by Emmanuel Todd

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

The Republican marches were a series of rallies that took place in cities across France on 10–11 January 2015 to honour the victims of the Charlie Hebdo shooting, the Montrouge shooting, and the Porte de Vincennes siege, and also to voice support for freedom of speech.

French government officials estimated that the rallies were attended by up to 3.7 million people nationwide, making them the largest public rallies in France since 1944, when Paris was liberated from the Nazis at the end of World War II, and also the biggest in French history.

In Paris, due to the expected number of people, three streets were planned for the march from Place de la République to Place de la Nation. It was estimated that between 1.5 and 2 million people marched down and nearby Boulevard Voltaire in Paris. The Paris marches were attended by 40 world leaders, from both Europe and around the world. The presence during the marches of foreign leaders who are accused of not respecting freedom of speech in their own country has been criticized.

In other cities in France, more than 300,000 rallied in Lyon, about a quarter of the population. More than 100,000 marched the streets of Rennes, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Grenoble, Montpellier and Marseille (within two days). Major rallies took place in Montreal, Brussels, Berlin, Amsterdam and Vienna.

In an interview prior to the Republican Marches, Luz, one of the survivors of the attack, described the show of support for the magazine as "wonderful", but bemoaned a lack of diversity of views in the public discourse following the attacks, which he said served the purposes of politicians, as well the use of symbols, which he characterised as contrary to the values of the magazine. He noted that, following the attacks, The Marseillaise had been sung in public, which his dead colleagues would have scorned. Also speaking prior to the Marches, Willem, another surviving cartoonist, said that a demonstration in support of free expression would be "naturally a good thing", but rejected the support of far-right figures such as Geert Wilders and Marine Le Pen: "We vomit on those who suddenly declare that they are our friends".




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