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France pays tribute to police officers murdered in attacks

January 13, 2015

A memorial service for the three police officers killed in last week's terrorist attacks has taken place in Paris. France has posthumously awarded them the Legion of Honor.

Beerdigung der ermordeten Polizisten in Paris 13.01.2015
Image: Reuters/E. Laurent

In Paris, a ceremony for the three murdered police officers was held at the Prefecture de Police late Tuesday morning. Among the guests was French President Francois Hollande. The memorial coincided with the funerals of the four Jewish victims of the terror attacks in Jerusalem.

The three police officers - Ahmed Merabet, Franck Brinsolaro and Clarissa Jean-Philippe - were slain during terrorist attacks, which began on Wednesday, when gunmen stormed the Paris offices of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.

"The three officers represented the diversity of France," Hollande said at the memorial service. "They shared one ideal: to serve the Republic. They died so that we can live in freedom."

Merabet, the son of immigrants from North Africa, had been a policeman for eight years, according to his police union. He had been assigned to the neighborhood when the terrorist attack occurred.

The second victim was Brinsolaro, a police veteran who was working as a bodyguard for the editor Stephane Charbonnier. According to French media, Brinsolaro was married to a newspaper editor from northern France and the couple had a one-year-old daughter.

A young female policewoman named Clarissa Jean-Philippe was killed the following day in an attack believed to be linked to the killings at Charlie Hebdo. According to the mayor of Montrouge, located south of Paris, she was responding to a reported traffic accident when she was shot dead. The suspect in her death was later killed by police.

The three murdered police officers were awarded the Legion of Honor posthumously by French President Francois Hollande.


As details about Ahmed Merabet's death became known, a campaign of solidarity started on social media, using the hashtag #JeSuisAhmed. This echoed the campaign of support for the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo that spread quickly after the attack, using the hashtag #JeSuisCharlie.

Julien Casters, a magazine editor in Morocco who was the first to tweet #JeSuisAhmed, said: "This hashtag is a way of saying: We are Muslims and we are also victims of the religious fanaticism." The slogan became popular because "a number of Muslims felt stigmatized by the attack," Casters told the Associated Press news agency.

"He himself was a Muslim," UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon told reporters after the death of Ahmed Merabet. "This is yet another reminder of what we are facing together. It should never be seen as a war of religion, for religion, or on religion. It is an assault on our common humanity, designed to terrify and incite."

das/kms (AP/Reuters)

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