'Charlie Hebdo' Rally In Paris Draws Gigantic Crowd Coming To Pay Their Respects — PHOTOS

As night fell in Paris on Wednesday, thousands took to the streets of the capital, pens raised in the air. They held signs reading "Je Suis Charlie" and "L'Amour: Plus Fort Que La Haine," the latter of which was taken from an issue of Charlie Hebdo , the legendary French satirical weekly that was targeted in a deadly shooting Wednesday morning. Three masked gunmen reportedly launched the assault, killing at least 12 people, including 10 journalists and cartoonists.

With a manhunt currently on for the three suspects, French citizens demonstrated their fortitude and resilience as they publicly defended their democracy. According to The Toronto Star, thousands gathered at the Place de la République in Paris for an impromptu rally and vigil. A Paris police spokesman told The Star that attendance grew to 35,000 people by 9 p.m., although other news sources place the attendance at 15,000.

The granddaughter of one of the victims, cartoonist Georges Wolinski, was reportedly in the crowd. She told The Star:

Despite the pain in our family I wanted to come here. We want to demonstrate that the young people are showing solidarity.

Elsewhere in France, rallies were held in Lyons and other major cities. French President Hollande also addressed the nation, calling for a day of mourning on Thursday.

"Nothing will make us renounce our determination," Hollande said. "Long live the republic. Long live France."

Here are some scenes from the Place de la République in Paris...

Among the Charlie Hebdo staff members killed in Wednesday's terrorist attack were publisher and editor Stéphane "Charb" Charbonnier, and cartoonists Wolinski, Jean "Cabu" Cabut and Bernard "Tignous" Verlhac. The other slain staff members and police officer have yet to be identified.

Image: Getty Images