Attack on Charlie Hebdo: Long live comics, and long live freedom of the press

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"Masked gunmen burst into the Paris offices of a French satirical newspaper on Wednesday and killed 12 people, including top journalists and two police officers, before fleeing in a car," reports the NYT. The gunmen who attacked the cartoonists, graphic artists, journalists and editors of Charlie Hebdo are still at large at the time of this blog post.

Some of the covers of Charlie Hebdo, a satirical magazine that often took aim at religion, including Islam.


Some of the covers of Charlie Hebdo, a satirical magazine that often took aim at religion, including Islam.

From the New York Times:

Among the dead were four prominent cartoonists who have repeatedly lampooned Islamic terrorists and the Prophet Muhammad, leading to speculation that the attack on the newspaper, Charlie Hebdo, was the work of Islamic militants acting alone or in concert with extremist groups. A police guard assigned to protect the newspaper was among the first victims. A second police officer, who responded to reports of the shooting, was killed on the sidewalk outside the office by the fleeing suspects, the Paris police said. The shooting of the second police officer was captured in a widely-seen video.

That video is available here, and below. French television is playing this footage, which is said to be of the attacks. In the video below, you can hear gunshots, and a male voice shouting “Allahu Akbar.”

Charlie Hebdo editor "Charb," killed in today's attack.


Charlie Hebdo editor "Charb," killed in today's attack.

French president François Hollande has declared the attack an act of terrorism, and an assault on freedom of the press.

Around the world, on social media, blogs, and in the streets, people are spreading hashtags in their native language: #JeSuisCharlie, #IAmCharlie. The powerful message of protest began on the website of the satirical publication that was targeted: There's a PDF of the protest cry in many languages on CharlieHebdo.fr.

In the Republic Square in Paris, and around the globe, people are holding up pens as a sign of protest, too.

Stephane Charbonnier, chief editor of Charlie Hebdo, was killed. Four cartoonists also died. One who survived described the attack: "Two men hooded and armed brutally threatened us. They wanted to come in, go up. I pressed in the code. "

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