Europe Coming Together After France Attacks
Flags were flown half-staff at the seat of the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France on Monday. Members of the European Parliament held a moment of silence for the victims of several attacks thought to be fueled by Muslim extremism in France last week.
Twelve were killed when gunmen attacked the offices of a satirical French newspaper, Charlie Hebdo, and another four in a separate attack on a kosher supermarket in Paris. The other victim was a policewoman who authorities believe was killed by the same man who held the hostages at the kosher supermarket.
“We are profoundly shocked by this heinous crime which is an affront to civilized society, and we unreservedly condemn such violence,” said president of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz in a speech at the EU Parliament Monday.
In the aftermath of the attacks in Paris, France, heightened security, announcing the mobilization of some 10,000 troops Monday to search for the accomplices of the attackers on Charlie Hebdo. Thousands of police will also be used to protect Jewish schools.
Neighboring Belgium received a bomb threat at the offices of French newspaper Le Soir on Sunday. The caller, who is in police custody, was reportedly upset about the paper’s coverage of the Charlie Hebdo attack. The newspaper evacuated to a nearby hotel, but resumed normal operations on Monday.
“No matter what happens, our values will not change, because we believe in freedom of expression, in freedom of religion. Sorrow must strengthen our determination to challenge these attacks,” said Helga Stevens, a member of the European Parliament from Belgium.
More than 3.7 million people marched in France on Sunday, 1.5 million of them in Paris, to honor the victims and show unity and support for the freedom of the press.
Over 40 world leaders flew to Paris to join the silent march in person. Among them were German Chancellor Angela Merkel, U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron, and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.
France’s Minister of the Interior, Bernard Cazeneuve, hosted an International ministerial meeting in Paris on Sunday, to which the U.S. Attorney General and the Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security were invited. The ministers called for tightening EU’s borders and sharing airline data across the EU, a controversial move that some say would trample civil liberties.