Millions March for Unity in Paris
World leaders attend to show support after a three-day killing spree broke out in France
Millions of people and dozens of world leaders gathered in the streets of Paris today to pay tribute to the victims of a three-day killing spree that left 17 people and three gunmen dead, according to reports.
“Paris is today the capital of the world. Our entire country will rise up and show its best side,” said President Francois Hollande in a statement.
French media estimate up to 3 million participants, and France’s Interior Ministry said the rally was the largest in France’s history – larger than the demonstration in Paris after the Allies liberated the city from the Nazis in World War II.
Hollande was joined by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, British Prime Minister David Cameron, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi among others.
Meanwhile, the streets filled up with citizens who wanted to show their support to the victims and their country, which was still reeling from the deadly shootings that started on Wednesday at the offices of Charlie Hebdo and ended two days later at a Jewish supermarket.
The Place de la République was overflowing with people, forcing many of them to find side streets, alley ways and street corners.
“We’re not here for the television,” said one father holding his daughter’s hand. “We’re not here for the politicians. We’re here for our children. For France. For freedom.”
Andrea Offner, and artist from Texas, carried a homemade sign that read: We are all Charlie.
“The sincerity is unbelievable,” she tells PEOPLE. “This is spontaneous and such a humanitarian call.”