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World Leaders March In Solidarity With French Terror Attack Victims


In France yesterday, an overwhelming show of solidarity after last week's attacks by Islamist radicals.


At the head of a unity march in Paris, more than 40 world leaders linked arms in a slow procession. And it's worth noting who this event brought together.

MONTAGNE: The leaders of Israel and the Palestinian Authority were there.

GREENE: Also the president of Ukraine and the foreign minister of Russia, at least symbolically, setting aside their differences.

MONTAGNE: French President Francois Hollande said Paris became, on this day, the capital of the world.

GREENE: More than a million people flooded that city's streets. They were determined to honor the victims of last week's attacks.

MONTAGNE: Marchers said they were sending another message as well - that people of all different faiths, races and political beliefs can join together and stand for liberty and tolerance. At times, the mood in Paris almost seems celebratory.


MONTAGNE: But much of the day was solemn.

FLORIAN CHEVOPPE: I felt like I was doing my duty today as a citizen.

GREENE: That's Florian Chevoppe. These were some of his only spoken words yesterday because he spent much of his time walking in silence.

CHEVOPPE: The time to say the national anthem in France came up, and we sang along but in a very low voice, very respectful, not chanting like we would at a football match or any soccer, as we call it in America, events.

GREENE: The crowd included people from all over the world like Claire Mays. She's an American who's been living in Paris for nearly 30 years.

CLAIRE MAYS: This was a silent march, but what was wonderful was to hear the waves. Here there was a wave of Charlie (claps) Charlie (claps), and it would just travel right up the avenue.

MONTAGNE: Jean-Jaque Fourmond came to the rally with his wife and their son and a homemade sign supporting the satirical magazine that was targeted in the attacks, Charlie Hebdo.

JEAN-JAQUE FOURMOND: I'm a policeman and I'm Charlie. That's what is written on my poster. En Francais, (speaking French).

GREENE: That voice - one of the millions of people out on the streets yesterday in cities and town across France. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.