Charlie Hebdo/shootings – Statements by M. François Hollande, President of the Republic (January 7, 2015)
An act of exceptional barbarism has just been committed here in Paris against a newspaper – a newspaper, i.e. the expression of freedom – and against journalists who had always wanted to show that in France they could always work to uphold their ideas and to enjoy the very freedom the Republic protects. There were also police to protect them. They – journalists and police – were cravenly murdered. As I speak, 11 people have died and four are in critical condition. We don’t yet have a definitive toll of all the victims, but there are 40 people who are under protection and who are safe. We shall have the exact toll in a few hours.
At 2:00 p.m., I shall convene at the Elysée a meeting of the ministers and officials now directly concerned with the protection we have to ensure for all places where similar acts could be repeated by the same barbaric individuals. And so we have put the Vigipirate Plan (1) on “attack” level. Action was taken immediately following the attack to find the perpetrators of these acts. They will be hunted down for as long as necessary so they can be arrested and brought before judges and sentenced.
France is in shock – the shock of an attack, because it’s a terrorist attack, there’s no doubt about that – against a newspaper that had already been threatened on several occasions and had consequently been under protection. At such times, we must stand together as one, show that we are a united country and that we can react properly, with firmness, but always with concern for national unity. That will be my stance and my resolve throughout the coming days and weeks. I will once again speak to the French, for as I said, this is an extremely difficult time. Several terrorist attacks had been thwarted in recent weeks, and we knew that we were under threat, as indeed were other countries. We are under threat because we are a country of freedoms, and because we are a country of freedoms, we will neutralize threats and punish aggressors. No one should think that he can act in France in a way that is contrary to the principles of the Republic, and attack the very spirit of the Republic: a newspaper. My thoughts today are with the victims. Eleven people have died, and four are hovering between life and death. That is where we stand right now. We are committed to finding those responsible, and call – as much as possible – for national unity. Thank you.