Cambridge Rallies for Charlie Hebdo

Ellie Hayward 17 January 2015

Hundreds of people gathered in central Cambridge this Sunday in a show of solidarity with the victims of last week’s terrorist atrocities in France.

The rally, held outside St Mary’s Church, took place on a day when millions of people across Europe took to the streets in an astonishing display of defiance and unity.

It followed brutal attacks in the French capital that left seventeen people dead, after three days of terror began last Wednesday with an attack on the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, with five people subsequently killed in a siege at a kosher supermarket.

A large crowd of all ages were present at the rally in Cambridge, with many of those in attendance displaying placards reading 'Nous Sommes Charlie' and raising pens and pencils to symbolise the defence of the freedom of speech

Sam Carr, a second-year historian who attended the protest, described the mood as one of “quiet, dignified defiance."

He added: "I went to express both solidarity with those who died in Paris, and to defend freedom of speech in the face of religious fundamentalism."

As world leaders from across the globe marched in Paris, some have pointed out the apparent hypocrisy of certain politicians taking part. These critics include the Green Parliamentary Candidate for Cambridge, Rupert Read, who tweeted: “It’s the death of satire when a corrupt war-criminal repressive scumbag like Netanyahu fronts a march in defence of free speech.”

For many, the attack on Charlie Hebdo represented a fundamental assault on the freedom of speech, and The Cambridge Student’s editorial team has joined with student journalists across the country to sign a statement of defiance published in The Tab.

The statement asserted: “Tomorrow’s journalists from all student publications across the nation are defiant against terrorism. The attack on Charlie Hebdo has only encouraged the next generation to fight for their right to report and publish freely.”