France begins commemorations of Charlie Hebdo attack | News | DW | 05.01.2016
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France begins commemorations of Charlie Hebdo attack

President Francois Hollande has unveiled a plaque at the former offices of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. A number of commemorations will be held throughout the week to mark the first anniversary of the attack.

President Francois Hollande and Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo laid a wreath under the freshly unveiled plaque bearing the names of the 11 victims of the attack at the magazine's former offices in Paris at 10 Rue Nicolas Appert. Families of victims joined the president in close proximity to the building, which heavily armed gunmen Cherif and Said Kouachi stormed on January 7, 2015.

The inscription on the plaque reads: "To the memory of victims of the terrorist attack against freedom of expression."

The current Charlie Hebdo staff has recently moved into new offices at an unknown address.

Plaque controversy

A widow of one of the cartoonists killed in the attack was "furious" when the plaque was unveiled, however, because her husband's name was misspelled. Georges Wolinski's name incorrectly appeared as "Georges Wolinsky" on the memorial.

"This morning, when I saw the 'Y', I can tell you I was furious," Maryse Wolinski told French television. When asked what her late husband would have thought about the typo, she replied: "He didn't like it at all when (his name was spelled with a 'Y'), that I can tell you. And as for me ... frankly I'm hard pressed to see the humor in it because I am too angry."

Upon seeing the mistake, Wolinski said she immediately alerted Mayor Hidalgo, who said the error would be quickly amended.

The misspelling has been temporarily corrected and a replacement plaque is expected to arrive in two days.

Further memorials

The presidential entourage moved on from the site of the former Charlie Hebdo offices to a nearby road where they unveiled another plaque at the site where one of the jihadist gunmen fleeing the scene shot dead a police officer who was chasing down the assailant.

Later in the day, Hollande is also due to unveil a plaque at Hyper Cacher, a kosher supermarket where four Jewish shoppers were killed in the course of the attacks, which stretched out over three days. The attack had revived concerns about anti-Semitism in France, the European country with the largest Jewish community.

Charlie Hebdo issue doles out criticism

The ceremonies came as Charlie Hebdo prepared to release a special anniversary issue deliberately filled with offensive cartoons, with the surviving artists resolute to defend their freedom of speech. The special issue will also include drawings by killed cartoonists Cabu, Wolinski, Charb, Tignous, and Honoré.

Anniversry issue of Charlie Hebdo

The Charlie Hebdo Anniversary issue features a front-page image of a deity, reading "the assassin is still on the run."

The anniversary edition accuses Islamic fundamentalists as well as an irresolute government for the string of violence in France in 2015, which culminated in the November 13 massacre at five different sites across Paris, killing 130 people.

Meanwhile, the widow of a bodyguard killed at Charlie Hebdo told RTL radio that she wanted an independent investigation into security measures taken at the paper. Ingrid Brinsolaro said her husband had witnessed "dysfunctions" and a lack of security at the offices, saying that "it was impossible to do his job correctly in these conditions."

Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve had said before that he was open to launching such an investigation, while also defending government efforts to ensure security. Cazeneuve cited that France had thwarted six attacks since the Charlie Hebdo assault, dismantling 18 recruitment networks and arresting 11 groups planning further attacks.

France remains under a state of emergency after the November 13 terror attacks, with extra security on duty for the Charlie Hebdo commemorations.

rs, ss/se (AFP, AP, epd)

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