Hundreds join Charlie Hebdo pencil tribute in London

11th January 2015, Comments 0 comments

More than a thousand people gathered in London Sunday to honour the victims of Islamist attacks in Paris, raising pensils to the sky in memory of those killed at satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.

Some in the crowd at Trafalgar Square carried placards saying "Je suis Charlie" and waved French flags.

Those attending the event created a giant circle made up of pencils and baguettes which also featured a giant paper heart carrying messages including "I Am A British Muslim" and "Vive La France" (Long Live France).

The demonstration came as hundreds of thousands of people including world leaders joined a unity march through Paris in the wake of the devastating attacks that left 17 dead, most at the magazine and at a Jewish supermarket.

"It's the whole of France that they tried to shoot down and I wanted to say no, it will not be like that. I am here for freedom of the press and freedom of expression equally," Romain Abjean, a French teacher who has lived in Britain for ten years, told AFP.

"I hope that now, in these terrible circumstances, everyone will learn to live together, as in societies like England."

Christophe Fox, who has worked in the telecoms sector in London for 15 years, had wrapped himself in the French flag for the vigil.

"I take part in this kind of demonstration only very rarely but I didn't see how I couldn't be here," he said.

Also present at the demonstration were Britain's deputy leader Nick Clegg and Sylvie Bermann, the French ambassador to London.

A string of London landmarks including Tower Bridge will later have the French flag projected on to them in a show of solidarity.

Trafalgar Square, Tower Bridge and the National Gallery will be lit up with the red, white and blue of the tricolour while the lights on the London Eye will go off and the flag will be projected behind it.

The British flag at Prime Minister David Cameron's Downing Street residence has also been lowered to half-mast as a mark of respect.

© 2015 AFP

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