Parisians protest attack on Charlie Hebdo and free speech – Part 2

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    Back now to today's big story.

    We take a closer look now at the satirical publication that was targeted today, and also the growing threat of Islamic extremists in France and elsewhere across Europe.

    But, first, we want to turn to ITN journalist Mark Austin in Paris for the very latest on the search.

    Mark, talking to you, I guess it's just after midnight, around midnight in Paris. Tell us what the latest is you know on the search for these suspects.


    Yes, about quarter past 12:00 here in the morning. And we're just hearing from French police that a big operation is going on in a town around an hour-and-a-half away from here, where we're not clear — it's not clear yet whether arrests have actually been made, but there's certainly a lot of activity going on.

    They know or they think they know who these gunmen are. Two of them are believed to be of Algerian descent. One of them is believed to be just 18 years old. So they know who they are, and they are tonight, as I say, undergoing a big police operation in a town called Rennes, which is about an hour-and-a-half from Paris.

    So the manhunt is moving quickly, and hundreds of police are out in Paris and surrounding areas top, so a big security operation, a big manhunt, but things are moving.


    Mark, tell us what the reaction has been of security, police there in Paris and across that part of France since this attack today.


    Well, a huge security crackdown, but you know what? The thing that has really impressed me most since being here is the impact that this has had — I mean, clearly, you can see — huge security operation, hundreds of police driving around Paris tonight.

    But the thing that's really had an impact on me since I have been here is just the way that Parisians, ordinary Parisians, feel offended and affronted by this attack, because they see it as an attack not only that has caused 12 deaths, but also they see it as an attack on one of their cherished freedoms.

    You know, these satirical magazines are a great tradition in France. They're a great tradition — you know, the satire against politicians is a great tradition here. These cartoons are a great tradition. And they feel that this is a real affront. And people are offended. And they feel that a freedom of speech, a basic freedom is under attack here.

    And that is something that is coming across — across very clearly tonight.


    But, Mark, is there also a sense of fear, since these terrorists materialized, apparently out of nowhere, to kill this many people and wound the others?


    There is a sense of fear here, but not an overwhelming one.

    I think that the belief is that this was a very targeted attack. They were targeting a magazine that they felt had — you know, had crossed them, and that they felt that in some way blasphemed the prophet, and that they don't really understand the freedom that is so cherished here.

    So, not a great fear — and, also, I have to say, thousands of people are out demonstrating tonight and protesting tonight in the Place de la Republique just half-a-mile or so from here, and not showing any inclination to be deterred by this. They were defiant and they were resilient and they were saying that they would keep upholding the free speech that they cherish so much.


    Well, Mark Austin in Paris, we thank you very much for your reporting. Thank you.

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