Hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets across France on Saturday in tribute to the victims of this week’s terrorist attacks.
From Nantes to Nice , the scenes have been similar with the “Je suis Charlie” banner on full display, along with people brandishing pencils to represent the right to free speech and cartoonists’ freedom of expression.
It is only a small preview of what is likely on Sunday when more than a million people in Paris alone are expected to take part in an unprecedented show of solidarity.
It is estimated that up to 800,000 took part in the marches on Saturday.
Foule impressionnante à Nice via
tonybaudesson</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/CharlieHebdo?src=hash">#CharlieHebdo</a> <a href="http://t.co/rx4as1Qxg5">pic.twitter.com/rx4as1Qxg5</a></p>— GERSCHEL✏️ Frédéric (fgerschel) January 10, 2015
The marches on Sunday will be attended by several European leaders including Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron and the German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
As authorities expect so many people to join the rally in the capital, the start points will be divided up and stretched across the city.
Manuel Valls, the Prime Minister of France, said: “We need to be mobilised. It will be the case through many cities of France and in Paris. It will be an incredible rally that, no doubt, will be remembered throughout time, and which needs to be strong and dignified. It must show the power, the dignity of the French people who will be screaming for their love of freedom and tolerance. Come in numbers.”
Hours after the initial drama on Wednesday tens of thousands of people spontaneously demonstrated across France.