SYDNEY (AFP) – Hundreds of people linked hands and displayed “Je suis Charlie” and “freedom” signs in Sydney Sunday as they paid tribute to the Paris attack victims just metres from the scene of a deadly cafe siege last month.
The crowd, led by French ambassador Christophe Lecourtier, marched in silence down Martin Place in the “No fear, no freedom” rally despite persistent rain.
Just a month ago, the same area was covered by a sea of flowers in an outpouring of grief after two hostages held by self-styled cleric Man Haron Monis were killed in a 16-hour standoff.
“You know what it means, especially here in Martin Place,” Lecourtier told the crowd, many of whom were from the French community.
“Let us keep in mind what is the spirit of Charlie. The spirit of Charlie is – the future belongs to those who resist, belongs to those who fight.”
Antoine and Sam Moscovitz said they brought their children to the rally as they wanted them to realise that the Paris attacks, in which 17 people lost their lives in a three-day killing spree, were wrong.
The attacks began at the offices of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, where 12 people died.
“So many people died in the past to get freedom for the French Republic,” Sam Moscovitz told AFP.
“We are not afraid. We cannot live in fear. We don’t know what tomorrow will bring but we can makes our voices heard.”
In Tokyo, more than 150 French and Japanese nationals gathered at a French language and culture institute and held a one-minute silent prayer.
They then sang the French national anthem and held aloft “Je suis Charlie” signs.
Tributes to the victims have been held across Asia over the past few days ahead of a march through Paris Sunday. Millions of people and dozens of world leaders are expected to attend the rallies.