Historic Paris crowd larger than when French capital liberated from Nazis in WWII

by Vanessa Garcia Rodriguez, |
A general view shows hundreds of thousands of French citizens taking part in a solidarity march (Marche Republicaine) in the streets of Paris Jan. 11, 2015. French citizens were joined by dozens of foreign leaders, among them Arab and Muslim representatives, in a march on Sunday, Jan. 12 in an unprecedented tribute to this week's victims following the shootings by gunmen at the offices of the satirical weekly newspaper Charlie Hebdo, the killing of a police woman in Montrouge, and the hostage taking at a kosher supermarket at the Porte de Vincennes. | REUTERS/Charles Platiau

PARIS (Christian Examiner) -- From Christians and Muslims to Jews and atheist, religion, race and politics were set aside Sunday, Jan. 11, for a momentous act of solidarity as roughly 1.6 million people led by leaders from around the world filled the streets of Paris in honor of the 17 victims killed in terror attacks earlier this week. Across France nearly four million joined the anti-terrorism march.

Today, Paris is the capital of the world. Our entire country will rise up toward something better.

According to Fox News, French Interior Ministry said the event was a historic demonstration of unity that surpassed the number of participants who filled the French capital's streets after the city was liberated from the Nazis during the second World War.

"Today, Paris is the capital of the world," said French President Francois Hollande. "Our entire country will rise up toward something better."

The 1.9 mile march began at the historic Place de la Republique near the offices of the Parisian satirical weekly newspaper, Charlie Hebdo, where Muslim terrorist brothers Cherif and Said Kouachi, massacred 12 people Jan. 7.

At the front of the crowds leading the anti-extremism demonstration were the slain victims' families with numerous world leaders and dignitaries linked arm-in-arm, Sky News reported.

The publication also stated 5,500 police and military personnel were deployed, some along the route of the march, and others at locations around the city including worship buildings and media outlets.

Among the nations represented were Russia, Ukraine, Israel and Palestine. The United States was represented by Ambassador to France Jane Hartley. German Chancellor Angela Merkel and British Prime Minister David Cameron stood alongside Hollande at the front of the crowd.

Prior to the march, the Islamic State (ISIS) released a video of terrorist, Amedy Coulibaly, who attacked a Parisian kosher grocery store and killed four hostages Thursday and a policewoman Friday. In the video the gunmen swears his allegiance to the terrorist group, The Guardian reported.

The undeterred demonstrators continued, many carrying the French flag and tributes to the victims of the three attacks which ended Friday when the three gunmen were killed during raids.