Friday

13th Dec 2019

EU politicians deplore France shooting

  • EU leaders have strongly condemned the attack (Photo: Napafloma-Photographe)

EU politicians have deplored shootings at French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo on Wednesday (7 January) calling them "brutal" and "inhumane" and a direct attack on the freedom of press in Europe.

The attack happened mid-morning at the magazine's headquarters in Paris and left 12 people dead, including two police officers, and several seriously injured.

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Videos soon emerged online apparently showing the attack. AFP reports that in a video of the attack filmed by a man seeking safety on a nearby rooftop, the men can be heard shouting "Allahu Akbar" (God is great).

French President Francois Hollande, speaking at the scene of the shooting, called for "national unity" and said that an "act of exceptional barbarity has just been committed".

"France is in shock. It is a terrorist attack," he added, ahead of an emergency meeting with his cabinet.

Local news reports suggest there were two attackers - they were armed with Kalashnikovs and a rocket launcher - and that they are still at large.

EU politicians have lined up to condemn the attack and pledge solidarity with France.

EU commission president Jean-Claude Juncker said he was "profoundly shocked by the brutal and inhumane attack".

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy offered his "condolences and solidarity" while Finland's Alexander Stubb said "we must all stand up for freedom of speech and expression".

German chancellor Angela Merkel said the attack was not only on the lives of French citizens but also "an attack on freedom of speech and the press, core elements of our free democratic culture. In no way can this be justified."

This is not the first time the weekly newspaper has been attacked. Three years ago its offices were firebombed following the publication of a special edition titled Charia Hebdo.

In 2007, it caused controversy by reprinting cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad that were first shown in a Danish newspaper, Jyllands-Posten, and which had sparked strong criticism in the Muslim world.

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