Atlantans turn out to support ‘Je suis Charlie’ freedoms of expression
By Maria Saporta
An estimated 2,000 Atlantans turned out for a “silent walk” Sunday afternoon as part of the “Je suis Charlie” global demonstration of sympathy for the massacre of more than a dozen Parisians on Jan. 7.
The killing including 10 journalists who worked at Charlie Hebdo, a weekly newspaper outside Paris, which had run editorial cartoons that caricatured the Prophet Muhammad. The newspaper, which was known to caricaturize people of all faiths and political leanings, knew it was a potential target of Islamic extremists and terrorists.
In Paris, more than three million people turned out on Sunday – filling the streets of the French capital – joined by leaders from around the world – expressing support for freedom of speech and freedom of the press.
Although the numbers were smaller, the sentiments among those taking part in the Atlanta walk were similarly passionate.
The walk began at 12th Street and Piedmont Avenue – weaving along the path inside Piedmont Park encircling the Upper Oval beside the historic Bathhouse and the tennis courts before heading up to the 14th Street entrance going west towards Colony Square to mezzanine offices shared by the Alliance Francaise and the Goethe German Cultural Center.
People on the walk, while not completely silently, were subdued. The crowd was multi-national and multi-cultural with a decidedly strong French flavor combined with a strong showing of journalists.
It was a coming together of a cosmopolitan and compassionate Atlanta.
Many chose to let hand-made signs speak for themselves. Here are some images of the walk as well as some of the ways that some of the people expressed themselves.