Foreigners Support Their Beloved France on Streets of Paris

Foreigners Support Their Beloved France on Streets of Paris

Demonstrators during a demonstration in solidarity with the victims of terrorist attacks in and around Paris linked to French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo attack. (Agence France-Presse)

Paris:  "No one messes with my France! Paris is the city of light," says Brazilian Marie Badas in the midst of the giant crowds marching through Paris on Sunday in the wake of this week's terror attacks.

"I learned to read by reading Charlie Hebdo," said the 56-year-old, who has lived in France for 40 years.

She is among the many foreigners taking part in the unprecedented scenes of solidarity and defiance that unfurled across the country following the jihadist attacks on satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and a Jewish supermarket that left 17 dead.

Sandra Silvia, 52, from Venezuela is wrapped in a huge French flag and has also dressed her little dog in the Tricolore.

"In any country, it would have been horrifying, but this isn't any country -- this is France. The country of human rights, of freedom, of literature, of the arts. France is a symbol," she said.

Nearby, a Kurdish man in his forties named Durdu has covered himself from top to toe in "Je Suis Charlie" stickers and others that say "Secularism, freedom of expression and anti-racism".

"For several months, we've been fighting a war in Kurdistan against those who sympathise with the people who killed Charlie. It's the same mentality," said the shopkeeper who has lived in France for 19 years.

Throughout the immense crowd, all sorts of languages are heard, from English to Spanish, Turkish to Arabic.

The feeling was summed up by US Attorney General Eric Holder, who said ahead of the march: "On this day, we are all French citizens."

A political group from Tunisia were also represented in the crowd. The Kouachi brothers who carried out the Charlie Hebdo massacre were linked to an Islamic State militant who claims to have assassinated two Tunisian politicians in 2013.

Saadet, a Turk in his twenties, is with Turkish friends brandishing placards in various languages, including in Spanish: "No Pasaran".

"Yes we're Turks but that's secondary. We're humanists. We love France -- we came to say that," he says.

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