France commemorates third anniversary of Charlie Hebdo massacre

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Anniversary of attack, in which 12 people were killed and 11 injured by gunmen, has led to fresh reflection on nature of free speech in France.

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France will mark three years since the Charlie Hebdo massacre on Sunday, with French president Emmanuel Macron and Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo expected to attend commemorations in the capital, reports The Independent.

The anniversary of the attack, in which 12 people were killed and 11 injured by gunmen, has led to a renewed reflection about the nature of free speech in France. 

In the aftermath of the attack the magazine’s sales surged to €60 million and seven million copies in 2015, but fell back to €19 million in 2016 as readers drifted away and the publication continued to pump out occasionally horrific material.

The magazine, which was originally targeted by the extremists for having aggressively lampooned Islam, printed a front page in August after the Barcelona van attack that declared “Islam, the religion of peace” next to a cartoon of a van running people over. 

Another cartoon since the attack suggested that the dead Syrian child washed up on a Mediterranean beach, Aylan Kurdi, could have grown up to be a sexual abuser because of his religious and ethnic background. The claim was a reference to tales of refugees committing sexual assaults in European cities.

The publication now say it has been lumbered with an annual security bill of €1.5 million since the attacks in order to ensure it can operate safely.

Read more of this report from The Independent.

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