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World Leaders March In Solidarity With French Terror Attack Victims

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

In France yesterday, an overwhelming show of solidarity after last week's attacks by Islamist radicals.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

At the head of a unity march in Paris, more than 40 world leaders linked arms in a slow procession. And it's worth noting who this event brought together.

MONTAGNE: The leaders of Israel and the Palestinian Authority were there.

GREENE: Also the president of Ukraine and the foreign minister of Russia, at least symbolically, setting aside their differences.

MONTAGNE: French President Francois Hollande said Paris became, on this day, the capital of the world.

GREENE: More than a million people flooded that city's streets. They were determined to honor the victims of last week's attacks.

MONTAGNE: Marchers said they were sending another message as well - that people of all different faiths, races and political beliefs can join together and stand for liberty and tolerance. At times, the mood in Paris almost seems celebratory.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC, CHEERING)

MONTAGNE: But much of the day was solemn.

FLORIAN CHEVOPPE: I felt like I was doing my duty today as a citizen.

GREENE: That's Florian Chevoppe. These were some of his only spoken words yesterday because he spent much of his time walking in silence.

CHEVOPPE: The time to say the national anthem in France came up, and we sang along but in a very low voice, very respectful, not chanting like we would at a football match or any soccer, as we call it in America, events.

GREENE: The crowd included people from all over the world like Claire Mays. She's an American who's been living in Paris for nearly 30 years.

CLAIRE MAYS: This was a silent march, but what was wonderful was to hear the waves. Here there was a wave of Charlie (claps) Charlie (claps), and it would just travel right up the avenue.

MONTAGNE: Jean-Jaque Fourmond came to the rally with his wife and their son and a homemade sign supporting the satirical magazine that was targeted in the attacks, Charlie Hebdo.

JEAN-JAQUE FOURMOND: I'm a policeman and I'm Charlie. That's what is written on my poster. En Francais, (speaking French).

GREENE: That voice - one of the millions of people out on the streets yesterday in cities and town across France. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.