French, foreign leaders walk arm-in-arm as millions protest Paris attacks

2015-01-12 00:18:47 GMT2015-01-12 08:18:47(Beijing Time)  Agencies
French President Francois Hollande is surrounded by head of states including (first row,LtoR) European Commission President European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Mali's President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Italy's Prime Minister Matteo Renzi as they attend the solidarity march (Marche Republicaine) in the streets of Paris January 11, 2015. French citizens will be joined by dozens of foreign leaders, among them Arab and Muslim representatives, in a march on Sunday 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/Philippe Wojazer) French President Francois Hollande is surrounded by head of states including (first row,LtoR) European Commission President European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Mali's President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Italy's Prime Minister Matteo Renzi as they attend the solidarity march (Marche Republicaine) in the streets of Paris January 11, 2015. French citizens will be joined by dozens of foreign leaders, among them Arab and Muslim representatives, in a march on Sunday 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/Philippe Wojazer)
Hundreds of thousands of French citizens take part in a solidarity march (Marche Republicaine) in the streets of Paris January 11, 2015. French citizens will be joined by dozens of foreign leaders, among them Arab and Muslim representatives, in a march on Sunday 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) Hundreds of thousands of French citizens take part in a solidarity march (Marche Republicaine) in the streets of Paris January 11, 2015. French citizens will be joined by dozens of foreign leaders, among them Arab and Muslim representatives, in a march on Sunday 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)
Family members and relatives of the seventeen victims take part in a solidarity march (Marche Republicaine) in the streets of Paris January 11, 2015. Hundreds of thousands of French citizens will be joined by dozens of foreign leaders, among them Arab and Muslim representatives, in a march on Sunday in an unprecedented tribute to this week's victims, including journalists and policemen, 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/Yves Herman) Family members and relatives of the seventeen victims take part in a solidarity march (Marche Republicaine) in the streets of Paris January 11, 2015. Hundreds of thousands of French citizens will be joined by dozens of foreign leaders, among them Arab and Muslim representatives, in a march on Sunday in an unprecedented tribute to this week's victims, including journalists and policemen, 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/Yves Herman)
Two women embrace under a banner that reads, Two women embrace under a banner that reads, "Not Islamophobia and jihadism" during a rally by members of the Muslim community of Madrid outside Madrid's Atocha train station, January 11, 2015, in solidarity with the victims of a shooting by gunmen at the Paris offices of the satirical weekly newspaper Charlie Hebdo, and against Islamophobia. (REUTERS/Juan Medina)
Thousands of people gather at Republique square in Paris, France, Sunday, Jan. 11, 2015. Thousands of people began filling France’s iconic Republique plaza, and world leaders converged on Paris in a rally of defiance and sorrow on Sunday to honor the 17 victims of three days of bloodshed that left France on alert for more violence. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong) Thousands of people gather at Republique square in Paris, France, Sunday, Jan. 11, 2015. Thousands of people began filling France’s iconic Republique plaza, and world leaders converged on Paris in a rally of defiance and sorrow on Sunday to honor the 17 victims of three days of bloodshed that left France on alert for more violence. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)
A girl holds a placard that reads A girl holds a placard that reads "I am a Muslim, not a terrorist" during a rally by members of the Muslim community of Madrid outside Madrid's Atocha train station, January 11, 2015, in solidarity with the victims of a shooting by gunmen at the Paris offices of the satirical weekly newspaper Charlie Hebdo, and against Islamophobia. (REUTERS/Juan Medina)
A girl holds a sign during a rally by members of the Muslim community of Madrid outside Madrid's Atocha train station, January 11, 2015, in solidarity with the victims of a shooting by gunmen at the Paris offices of the satirical weekly newspaper Charlie Hebdo, and against Islamophobia. (REUTERS/Juan Medina) A girl holds a sign during a rally by members of the Muslim community of Madrid outside Madrid's Atocha train station, January 11, 2015, in solidarity with the victims of a shooting by gunmen at the Paris offices of the satirical weekly newspaper Charlie Hebdo, and against Islamophobia. (REUTERS/Juan Medina)
: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, French President Francois Hollande, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Queen Rania of Jordan attend a mass unity rally following the recent Paris terrorist attacks on January 11, 2015 in Paris, France. An estimated one million people have converged in central Paris for the Unity March joining in solidarity with the 17 victims of this week's terrorist attacks in the country. French President Francois Hollande led the march and was joined by world leaders in a sign of unity. The terrorist atrocities started on Wednesday with the attack on the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, killing 12, and ended on Friday with sieges at a printing company in Dammartin en Goele and a Kosher supermarket in Paris with four hostages and three suspects being killed. A fourth suspect, Hayat Boumeddiene, 26, escaped and is wanted in connection with th : Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, French President Francois Hollande, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Queen Rania of Jordan attend a mass unity rally following the recent Paris terrorist attacks on January 11, 2015 in Paris, France. An estimated one million people have converged in central Paris for the Unity March joining in solidarity with the 17 victims of this week's terrorist attacks in the country. French President Francois Hollande led the march and was joined by world leaders in a sign of unity. The terrorist atrocities started on Wednesday with the attack on the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, killing 12, and ended on Friday with sieges at a printing company in Dammartin en Goele and a Kosher supermarket in Paris with four hostages and three suspects being killed. A fourth suspect, Hayat Boumeddiene, 26, escaped and is wanted in connection with th
People attend a silent protest for the victims of the shooting at the Paris offices of weekly newspaper Charlie Hebdo, at the Pariser Platz square in Berlin January 11, 2015. (REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke) People attend a silent protest for the victims of the shooting at the Paris offices of weekly newspaper Charlie Hebdo, at the Pariser Platz square in Berlin January 11, 2015. (REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke)
Two young women hold a placard that reads Two young women hold a placard that reads "Islam = Peace" during a rally by members of the Muslim community of Madrid outside Madrid's Atocha train station, January 11, 2015, in solidarity with the victims of a shooting by gunmen at the Paris offices of the satirical weekly newspaper Charlie Hebdo, and against Islamophobia. (REUTERS/Juan Medina)
A woman wears a cartoon painting on the face during a silent protest for the victims of the shooting at the Paris offices of weekly newspaper Charlie Hebdo, at the Pariser Platz square in Berlin January 11, 2015. (REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke) A woman wears a cartoon painting on the face during a silent protest for the victims of the shooting at the Paris offices of weekly newspaper Charlie Hebdo, at the Pariser Platz square in Berlin January 11, 2015. (REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke)
People hold letters that read People hold letters that read "Berlin is Charlie" during a silent protest for the victims of the shooting at the Paris offices of weekly newspaper Charlie Hebdo, at the Pariser Platz square in Berlin January 11, 2015. (REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke)
A woman wears a tape with the word 'Liberte' (Freedom) on her mouth during a silent protest for the victims of the shooting at the Paris offices of weekly newspaper Charlie Hebdo, at the Pariser Platz square in Berlin January 11, 2015. (REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke) A woman wears a tape with the word 'Liberte' (Freedom) on her mouth during a silent protest for the victims of the shooting at the Paris offices of weekly newspaper Charlie Hebdo, at the Pariser Platz square in Berlin January 11, 2015. (REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke)
Thousands of people gather at Republique square in Paris, France, Sunday, Jan. 11, 2015. Thousands of people began filling France’s iconic Republique plaza, and world leaders converged on Paris in a rally of defiance and sorrow on Sunday to honor the 17 victims of three days of bloodshed that left France on alert for more violence. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong) Thousands of people gather at Republique square in Paris, France, Sunday, Jan. 11, 2015. Thousands of people began filling France’s iconic Republique plaza, and world leaders converged on Paris in a rally of defiance and sorrow on Sunday to honor the 17 victims of three days of bloodshed that left France on alert for more violence. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)
French President Francois Hollande embraces German Chancellor Angela Merkel, left, as she arrives at the Elysee Palace, Paris, Sunday, Jan. 11, 2015. A rally of defiance and sorrow, protected by an unparalleled level of security, on Sunday will honor the 17 victims of three days of bloodshed in Paris that left France on alert for more violence. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus) French President Francois Hollande embraces German Chancellor Angela Merkel, left, as she arrives at the Elysee Palace, Paris, Sunday, Jan. 11, 2015. A rally of defiance and sorrow, protected by an unparalleled level of security, on Sunday will honor the 17 victims of three days of bloodshed in Paris that left France on alert for more violence. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)
Head of the Egyptian Press Syndicate Diaa Rashwan holds a pen in a show of solidarity with the victims of Wednesday's attack in Paris on the Charlie Hebdo newspaper, at the Press Syndicate in Cairo, Egypt, Sunday, Jan. 11, 2015. The attack on the French satirical newspaper has caused grief and soul-searching around the world, and exposed the risks humorists can run in an era of instant global communications and starkly opposed ideologies. Despite the show of solidarity, some fear the violence will lead to self-censorship by artists and publishers. (AP Photo/Mosa'ab Elshamy) Head of the Egyptian Press Syndicate Diaa Rashwan holds a pen in a show of solidarity with the victims of Wednesday's attack in Paris on the Charlie Hebdo newspaper, at the Press Syndicate in Cairo, Egypt, Sunday, Jan. 11, 2015. The attack on the French satirical newspaper has caused grief and soul-searching around the world, and exposed the risks humorists can run in an era of instant global communications and starkly opposed ideologies. Despite the show of solidarity, some fear the violence will lead to self-censorship by artists and publishers. (AP Photo/Mosa'ab Elshamy)
Head of the Egyptian Press Syndicate Diaa Rashwan holds a pen in a show of solidarity with the victims of Wednesday's attack in Paris on the Charlie Hebdo newspaper, at the Press Syndicate in Cairo, Egypt, Sunday, Jan. 11, 2015. The attack on the French satirical newspaper has caused grief and soul-searching around the world, and exposed the risks humorists can run in an era of instant global communications and starkly opposed ideologies. Despite the show of solidarity, some fear the violence will lead to self-censorship by artists and publishers. (AP Photo/Mosa'ab Elshamy) Head of the Egyptian Press Syndicate Diaa Rashwan holds a pen in a show of solidarity with the victims of Wednesday's attack in Paris on the Charlie Hebdo newspaper, at the Press Syndicate in Cairo, Egypt, Sunday, Jan. 11, 2015. The attack on the French satirical newspaper has caused grief and soul-searching around the world, and exposed the risks humorists can run in an era of instant global communications and starkly opposed ideologies. Despite the show of solidarity, some fear the violence will lead to self-censorship by artists and publishers. (AP Photo/Mosa'ab Elshamy)
A poster saying 'We Are All Charlie', decorated with pencils, is held aloft at Republique square in Paris, France, Sunday, Jan. 11, 2015. Thousands of people began filling France’s iconic Republique plaza, and world leaders converged on Paris in a rally of defiance and sorrow on Sunday to honor the 17 victims of three days of bloodshed that left France on alert for more violence. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong) A poster saying 'We Are All Charlie', decorated with pencils, is held aloft at Republique square in Paris, France, Sunday, Jan. 11, 2015. Thousands of people began filling France’s iconic Republique plaza, and world leaders converged on Paris in a rally of defiance and sorrow on Sunday to honor the 17 victims of three days of bloodshed that left France on alert for more violence. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)
French President Francois Hollande (R) welcomes Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron (L) at the Elysee Palace before attending a solidarity march (Marche Republicaine) in the streets of Paris January 11, 2015. Hundreds of thousands of French citizens will be joined by dozens of foreign leaders, among them Arab and Muslim representatives, in a march on Sunday 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/Philippe Wojazer) French President Francois Hollande (R) welcomes Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron (L) at the Elysee Palace before attending a solidarity march (Marche Republicaine) in the streets of Paris January 11, 2015. Hundreds of thousands of French citizens will be joined by dozens of foreign leaders, among them Arab and Muslim representatives, in a march on Sunday 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/Philippe Wojazer)
Israelis, mostly French Jews, hold signs that read, Israelis, mostly French Jews, hold signs that read, "I am Charlie," "Israel is Charlie" and "I am a Jew of France" during a gathering in the municipality in Jerusalem, Sunday, Jan. 11, 2015. Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the bodies of French Jews killed in a hostage standoff in a Paris grocery store will be buried in Israel. (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)
People holding a poster reading People holding a poster reading "Quick more democracy everywhere against barbarism" take part in a solidarity march (Marche Republicaine) in the streets of Paris January 11, 2015. French citizens will be joined by dozens of foreign leaders, among them Arab and Muslim representatives, in a march on Sunday 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/Youssef Boudlal)
Egyptian journalists hold pens in a show of solidarity with the victims of Wednesday's attack in Paris on the Charlie Hebdo newspaper, at the Press Syndicate in Cairo, Egypt, Sunday, Jan. 11, 2015. The attack on the French satirical newspaper has caused grief and soul-searching around the world, and exposed the risks humorists can run in an era of instant global communications and starkly opposed ideologies. Despite the show of solidarity, some fear the violence will lead to self-censorship by artists and publishers. (AP Photo/Mosa'ab Elshamy) Egyptian journalists hold pens in a show of solidarity with the victims of Wednesday's attack in Paris on the Charlie Hebdo newspaper, at the Press Syndicate in Cairo, Egypt, Sunday, Jan. 11, 2015. The attack on the French satirical newspaper has caused grief and soul-searching around the world, and exposed the risks humorists can run in an era of instant global communications and starkly opposed ideologies. Despite the show of solidarity, some fear the violence will lead to self-censorship by artists and publishers. (AP Photo/Mosa'ab Elshamy)
Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, back left, former French President Nicolas Sarkozy, second from left, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, third from left, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, center, and Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt, back far right, leave the Elysee Palace to board a bus to join a rally, Paris, Sunday, Jan. 11, 2015. A rally of defiance and sorrow, protected by an unparalleled level of security, on Sunday will honor the 17 victims of three days of bloodshed in Paris that left France on alert for more violence. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus) Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, back left, former French President Nicolas Sarkozy, second from left, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, third from left, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, center, and Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt, back far right, leave the Elysee Palace to board a bus to join a rally, Paris, Sunday, Jan. 11, 2015. A rally of defiance and sorrow, protected by an unparalleled level of security, on Sunday will honor the 17 victims of three days of bloodshed in Paris that left France on alert for more violence. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, left, Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk, center, and President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz, right, speak as they leave the Elysee Palace to board a bus to join a rally, Paris, Sunday, Jan. 11, 2015. A rally of defiance and sorrow, protected by an unparalleled level of security, on Sunday will honor the 17 victims of three days of bloodshed in Paris that left France on alert for more violence. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus) Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, left, Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk, center, and President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz, right, speak as they leave the Elysee Palace to board a bus to join a rally, Paris, Sunday, Jan. 11, 2015. A rally of defiance and sorrow, protected by an unparalleled level of security, on Sunday will honor the 17 victims of three days of bloodshed in Paris that left France on alert for more violence. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)
People gather at Republique square in Paris, France, Sunday, Jan. 11, 2015. Some thousands of people began filling France’s iconic Republique plaza, and world leaders converged on Paris in a rally of defiance and sorrow on Sunday to honor the 17 victims of three days of bloodshed that left France on alert for more violence. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong) People gather at Republique square in Paris, France, Sunday, Jan. 11, 2015. Some thousands of people began filling France’s iconic Republique plaza, and world leaders converged on Paris in a rally of defiance and sorrow on Sunday to honor the 17 victims of three days of bloodshed that left France on alert for more violence. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)
Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy (L), head of the French conservative party UMP party, and his wife Carla Bruni-Sarkozy (R) arrive at the Elysee Palace before attending a solidarity march (Marche Republicaine) in the streets of Paris January 11, 2015. Hundreds of thousands of French citizens will be joined by dozens of foreign leaders, among them Arab and Muslim representatives, in a march on Sunday 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/Philippe Wojazer) Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy (L), head of the French conservative party UMP party, and his wife Carla Bruni-Sarkozy (R) arrive at the Elysee Palace before attending a solidarity march (Marche Republicaine) in the streets of Paris January 11, 2015. Hundreds of thousands of French citizens will be joined by dozens of foreign leaders, among them Arab and Muslim representatives, in a march on Sunday 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/Philippe Wojazer)
French President Francois Hollande (C) welcomes former French President Nicolas Sarkozy (L), head of the French conservative party UMP party, and former prime minister Francois Fillon (R)at the Elysee Palace before attending a solidarity march (Marche Republicaine) in the streets of Paris January 11, 2015. Hundreds of thousands of French citizens will be joined by dozens of foreign leaders, among them Arab and Muslim representatives, in a march on Sunday 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/Philippe Wojazer) French President Francois Hollande (C) welcomes former French President Nicolas Sarkozy (L), head of the French conservative party UMP party, and former prime minister Francois Fillon (R)at the Elysee Palace before attending a solidarity march (Marche Republicaine) in the streets of Paris January 11, 2015. Hundreds of thousands of French citizens will be joined by dozens of foreign leaders, among them Arab and Muslim representatives, in a march on Sunday 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/Philippe Wojazer)
A Greek man holds a placard reading A Greek man holds a placard reading "I am Charlie" as he takes part in a solidarity march for the victims of the shooting at the Paris offices of weekly newspaper Charlie Hebdo, in the streets of Thessaloniki January 11, 2015. (REUTERS/Alexandros Avramidis)
A Greek man holds a placard reading A Greek man holds a placard reading "I am Charlie" as he takes part in a solidarity march for the victims of the shooting at the Paris offices of weekly newspaper Charlie Hebdo, in the streets of Thessaloniki January 11, 2015. (REUTERS/Alexandros Avramidis)
A demonstrator holds up an oversized pencil at Republique Square, Paris, before the start of a demonstration, Sunday, Jan. 11, 2015. A rally of defiance and sorrow, protected by an unparalleled level of security, on Sunday will honor the 17 victims of three days of bloodshed in Paris that left France on alert for more violence. (AP Photo/Laurent Cipriani) A demonstrator holds up an oversized pencil at Republique Square, Paris, before the start of a demonstration, Sunday, Jan. 11, 2015. A rally of defiance and sorrow, protected by an unparalleled level of security, on Sunday will honor the 17 victims of three days of bloodshed in Paris that left France on alert for more violence. (AP Photo/Laurent Cipriani)
A general view shows an ambulance surrounded by hundreds of thousands of people gathering on the Place de la Republique to attend the solidarity march (Rassemblement Republicain) in the streets of Paris January 11, 2015. French citizens will be joined by dozens of foreign leaders, among them Arab and Muslim representatives, in a march on Sunday 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) A general view shows an ambulance surrounded by hundreds of thousands of people gathering on the Place de la Republique to attend the solidarity march (Rassemblement Republicain) in the streets of Paris January 11, 2015. French citizens will be joined by dozens of foreign leaders, among them Arab and Muslim representatives, in a march on Sunday 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 - World leaders including Muslim and Jewish statesmen linked arms to lead more than a million French citizens through Paris in an unprecedented march to pay tribute to victims of Islamist militant attacks.

Commentators said the last time crowds of this size filled the streets of the capital was at the Liberation of Paris from Nazi Germany in 1944.

President Francois Hollande and leaders from Germany, Italy, Turkey, Britain as well as Israel and the Palestinian territories moved off from the central Place de la Republique ahead of a sea of French and other flags.

Seventeen people, including journalists and police, were killed in three days of violence that began on Wednesday with a shooting attack on the political weekly Charlie Hebdo, known for its satirical attacks on Islam and other religions.

Giant letters attached to a statue in the square spelt out the word Pourquoi?" (Why?) and small groups sang the "La Marseillaise" national anthem.

"Paris is today the capital of the world. Our entire country will rise up and show its best side," Hollande said.

At least 3.7 million people took part in silent marches throughout the country, the biggest public demonstration ever registered in France. A total of 1.2 million to 1.6 million marched in Paris and a further 2.5 million in other cities, the Interior Ministry said.

The marches mostly proceeded in a respectful silence, reflecting shock over the worst militant Islamist assault on a European city since 57 people were killed in an attack on London's transport system in 2005.

The attackers, two French-born brothers of Algerian origin, singled out the weekly for its publication of cartoons depicting and ridiculing the Prophet Mohammad. The bloodshed ended on Friday with a hostage-taking at a Jewish deli in which four hostages and the gunman were killed.

Some 2,200 police and soldiers patrolled Paris streets to protect marchers from would-be attackers, with police snipers on rooftops and plain-clothes detectives mingling with the crowd.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, British Prime Minister David Cameron and Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi were among 44 foreign leaders marching with Hollande.

Merkel walked to Hollande's left and at his right was President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita of Mali, a country where France intervened to fight Islamist rebels two years ago to the day.

In a rare public display of emotion by the leaders of two powers, Hollande embraced Merkel, her eyes shut and forehead resting on his cheek, on the steps of the Elysee before they headed off to march.

Renzi said the fight against terrorism will be won by a Europe that is political, not just economic.

"The most important is the Europe of values, of culture, of ideals and that is the reason we are here," Renzi said.

Israel's Benjamin Netanyahu - who earlier in the day encouraged French Jews to emigrate to Israel - and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas were also present and walked just a few steps from one another.

"In the same way that the civilized world stood today with France against terror, so it must stand with Israel against terror," Netanyahu said at a ceremony in a Paris synagogue.

After world leaders left the march, Hollande stayed to greet survivors of the Charlie Hebdo attack and their families, while hundreds of thousands of people marched slowly and in near-total silence through Paris streets.

"We're not going to let a little gang of hoodlums run our lives," said Fanny Appelbaum, 75, who said she lost two sisters and a brother in the Nazi concentration camp at Auschwitz‎. "Today, we are all one."

Zakaria Moumni, a 34-year-old Franco-Moroccan draped in the French flag, agreed: "I am here to show the terrorists they have not won - it is bringing people together of all religions."

The attacks have raised difficult questions of free speech, religion and security, and exposed the vulnerability of states to urban attacks.

The head of France's 550,000-strong Jewish community, Roger Cukierman, said Hollande had promised that Jewish schools and synagogues would have extra protection, by the army if necessary, after the killings. He also called for limits on hate speech and more control on suspected jihadists.

Hours before the march, a video emerged featuring a man resembling the gunman killed in the kosher deli. He pledged allegiance to the Islamic State insurgent group and urged French Muslims to follow his example.

Two of the gunmen had declared allegiance to al Qaeda in Yemen and a third to the militant Islamic State. All three were killed during the police operations in what local commentators have called "France's 9/11", a reference to the September 2001 attacks on U.S. targets by al Qaeda.

Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said that at a meeting in Paris on Sunday European interior ministers had agreed to boost cooperation to thwart further militant attacks.

He called for the creation of a European database of airplane passenger names and said Europe should fight against abusive use of the Internet to spread hate speech.

While there has been widespread solidarity with the victims, there have been dissenting voices.

French social media have carried comments from those uneasy with the "Je suis Charlie" slogan interpreted as freedom of expression at all cost. Others suggest there was hypocrisy in world leaders whose countries have repressive media laws attending the march.

Far-right National Front leader Marine Le Pen, whom analysts see receiving a boost in the polls due to the attacks, said her anti-immigrant party had been excluded from the Paris demonstration and would instead take part in regional marches.

Less than 1,000 people gathered in the National Front-ruled southern town of Beaucaire.

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