Charlie Hebdo Attack Victims Honored as Iran Rages Over New Cartoons
French politicians paid tribute Saturday to Charlie Hebdo magazine staff and other victims of the January 2015 Islamist attacks, days after the satirical weekly’s latest edition sparked outrage in Iran.
French President Emmanuel Macron tweeted the names of all 17 victims of a spate of attacks eight years ago in and around Paris, including the 12 people killed at the offices of Charlie Hebdo.
“We will never forget you,” he added, with a cartoon by the well-known French cartoonist Plantu attached.
Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne also marked the anniversary of the attacks, which also involved a deadly siege at a kosher supermarket.
“In the face of Islamist terrorism, the Republic remains standing,” she tweeted. “For their families, for our values, for our liberty: we do not forget.”
And Culture Minister Rima Abdul Malak tweeted: “Satire, irreverence, the republican tradition of press cartoons are intrinsic to our democracy. We continue to defend them.”
The tributes came days after Tehran reacted furiously to cartoons mocking Iran’s leadership in the latest issue of Charlie Hebdo, which appeared Wednesday.
The magazine had invited cartoonists to depict Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in the context of ongoing demonstrations against his theocratic regime, by women in particular.
The graphic front cover sought to highlight the fight for women’s rights, while others were sexually explicit and insulting toward Khamenei and fellow clerics.
Many cartoons pointed to the authorities’ use of capital punishment as a tactic to quell the protests.
In response, Iran summoned France’s ambassador and called on the government to hold “the authors of such hatred” to account.
On Thursday, it said it was closing the Tehran-based French Institute for Research.
“France has no right to insult the sanctities of other Muslim countries and nations under the pretext of freedom of expression,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Nasser Kanani said.
In Paris Saturday, Interior Minister Gerard Darmanin and the city’s Mayor Anne Hidalgo were among the politicians who attended a ceremony at the former offices of Charlie Hebdo, in the city’s 11th arrondissement.
It was there that two gunmen killed staff at the magazine, including some of its best-known cartoonists.
A few meters farther down the same street, police lieutenant Ahmed Merabet was gunned down by the killers as he tried to stop their escape.
The gunmen, who claimed to represent al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula said they were taking revenge for previous satirical cartoons in the magazine depicting the Prophet Mohammed. They were killed after two days on the run.
The day after the Charlie Hebdo attack, another Islamist gunman killed a police officer in Montrouge, just outside Paris— and a day later he killed four hostages at a Jewish supermarket in east Paris.
He was shot dead as police stormed the premises and freed the remaining hostages.