France's National Unity March (Marche Republicaine) du 11 January: JE SUIS CHARLIE

12 January 2015

4 million people marched across France today.
 70,000 marched in my city, Clermont-Ferrand.
This national event was the largest public anti-terrorist march in history.

The streets were a flood of people, all in support for freedom of the press, memorializing the victims of the Charlie Hebdo magazine (2 of the victims were from Clermont-Ferrand, working in Paris,) and making a peaceful, yet powerful, stand against terrorism.

 My sign reads: "Liberty. I am Charlie" ("je suis Charlie" is the popular motto in solidarity
 with the victims of the Charlie Hebdo attack, and pro-freedom of the press)

Not only as a supporter of freedom for the press and a voice against religious tyranny, but also as a fellow artist, I felt it was really important to take part in this march.

The trams were overstuffed with people, so I had to walk to the center of town, were it began, and continued for 2 hours, to the half-way point of the march. I had hoped to make it to the end, but my muscles and joints were giving out, sunset was nearing, and I still had a long, cold walk to get home. I'm glad I went though, and stayed as long as I could... it was worth every ache and blistered toe!

Some more pictures from the march .....

"I am atheist"

"Liberty, Union, Tolerance"

Pens, raised high in the air (and sometimes attached to the tops of signs,) 
were simple yet powerful symbols of solidarity with the free press. 

There were lots of children and baby carriages (and even a few dogs) who participated in the march. We were not only marching for the rights and freedoms of today, but for their future freedoms, too, so I felt it was really awesome to see so many kids beaming with pride as they carried signs in support of peace, liberty, and free speech.

an anti-religion sign, and another that speaks against
 the loss of personal liberties and free thought ...

Along the way, several city advertisment boards
 displayed the JE SUIS CHARLIE motto

On the walk home, I passed this sweet little note on someone's front door...

all have a double aspect - freedom of thought and freedom of action."
                                                                                  - Frank Murphy


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