Crowds Line Up For 'Charlie Hebdo' In Paris & Beyond, Buying Out All 3 Million Copies — PHOTOS
Though Charlie Hebdo initially planned to print 1 million copies of its new issue after the January 7 attack, that number has tripled due to overwhelming demand and support from France and beyond. An unprecedented 3 million copies of Wednesday's issue were printed, which is a significant jump from the paper's normal print run of 60,000 copies. Readers started lining up before the sun came up, and within minutes all three million copies of Charlie Hebdo had sold out.
The new issue, which is being called the "Survivors' Issue," features Muhammed once again on the cover holding a sign that reads "Je suis Charlie" with the caption, "Tout est pardonné," or "All is forgiven." The satirical newspaper was attacked last Wednesday as an apparent consequence of the paper publishing similar cartoons of the Muslim prophet.
Last Friday, an al-Qaeda member from the group's Yemen branch issued a statement to the Associated Press announcing AQAP was responsible for the attack. The anonymous member said that the attack was carried out "as revenge for the honor" of Mohammed and that it was an example of "the consequences of the persistence in the blasphemy against Muslim sanctities" that Al Qaeda has warned against in the past.
Despite this ominous message, and despite the worst terrorist attack that France has seen in decades, French citizens were eager to get their hands on Charlie Hebdo's latest issue. In their latest declaration of "Je suis Charlie," millions of readers lined up in the wee hours of Wednesday morning to secure their copies of the paper.
Many of the purchasers were first-time readers, and some were buying not for the content but to show support.
David Sullo, one of the two dozen people in line at a Paris kiosk, told Reuters:
It's not quite my political stripes, but it's important for me to buy it today and support freedom of expression.
The desire to show support was so great that after the first 3 million sold out, the paper is now expanding the print run of its latest issue to 5 million copies.
As the cover suggests, the paper has not compromised its blasphemous style for its latest edition. Inside the paper, one cartoon features jihadists saying: "We shouldn't touch Charlie people ... otherwise they will look like martyrs and, once in heaven, these bastards will steal our virgins."
Before the issue was published, Richard Malka, the newspaper's lawyer, told France Info radio:
We will not give in. The spirit of "I am Charlie" means the right to blaspheme.
The new cover has drawn criticism from some who say that continuing to publish cartoons of Muhammed will continue to provoke extremists. But for one of the newspaper's surviving cartoonists, Renald "Luz" Luzier, who created the latest cover, it was the only response that made sense for him. He told a news conference Tuesday:
I wrote "All is forgiven" and I cried. This is our front page ... not the one the terrorists wanted us to draw.
And Belgium's newspaper Le Soir made an exceptional poignant observation:
Not publishing the edition would have been like a second death for the victims.
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