Paris attacks: SA French emigrants call for unity

French emigrants in South Africa gathered at Zoo Lake to pay tribute to people killed in the Paris attacks.

Scores of people came out to show their support in French Solidarity gathering held at Zoo Lake, Johannesburg on 10 January 2015. Picture: Vumani Mkhize/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - French emigrants in South Africa have called on the world to stand in solidarity with the people of France following last week's Charlie Hebdo terror attack.

Many gathered at Zoo Lake in Johannesburg yesterday to pay tribute to the people killed in the tragedy.

At least 12 people were killed last week when gunmen stormed the magazine's offices.

Two standoffs with police in Paris left three gunmen dead on Friday.

One suspect is still on the run; 26-year-old Hayat Boumeddiene who is alleged to have been an accomplice in the hostage-taking incident at a kosher grocery store in eastern Paris.

Four civilians were killed by gunman Amedy Coulibaly in the hostage standoff before police stormed the market.

Two police officers were also wounded in the raid.

Coulibaly was killed in the police operation.

The other pair of suspects, brothers Cherif and Said Kouachi, responsible for the magazine attack, were killed in a police operation.

The emigrants say they're angry at the brutal and senseless killing of the staff at the satirical magazine headquarters.

Some people say there's no greater weapon against terrorism than freedom of speech.

"They won't win because we're stronger than them. We condemn what happened and encourage freedom of speech."

They say they will not be defeated by those behind the attack and have called on the global community to stand up against any form of terrorism.

Video: Expats show solidarity with French counterparts.


A woman hunted by French police as a suspect in the attacks on a satirical paper and Jewish supermarket in Paris left France several day before the killings and is believed to be in Syria, Turkish and French sources said on Saturday.

After killing the gunmen behind the worst assault in France for decades, French police launched in an intensive search for Boumeddiene, describing her as "armed and dangerous".

But a source familiar with the situation said that Boumeddiene left France last week and travelled to Syria via Turkey. A senior Turkish official corroborated that account, saying she passed through Istanbul on 2 January.

On Saturday, police maintained a heavy presence around the French capital, with patrols at sensitive sites including media offices, and local vigils were held across France. The Interior Ministry said about 700,000 people attended including 120,000 in Toulouse, 75,000 in Nantes, and 50,000 in Marseille.

"It's no longer like before," said Maria Pinto, on a street in central Paris. "You work a whole life through and because of these madmen, you leave your house to go shopping, go to work, and you don't know if you'll come home."

The attack on Charlie Hebdo raised sensitive questions about freedom of speech, religion and security in a country struggling to integrate five million Muslims.

Video: Charlie Hebdo terrorists killed.

Additional reporting by Reuters.