Macron leads tributes to victims of Charlie Hebdo attacks

Twelve people were killed at the weekly's office on January 7, 2015, and five others in and around Paris

Charlie Hebdo webmaster Simon Fieschi and cartoonist Laurent Sourisseau, also known as Riss, hand over a wreath to police officers during a ceremony marking the eighth anniversary of the extremist attack on the satirical magazine's office. EPA
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French politicians have paid tribute to Charlie Hebdo staff and other victims of the January 2015 extremist attacks, days after the satirical weekly's latest edition sparked outrage in Iran.

On Saturday, French President Emmanuel Macron tweeted the names of all 17 victims in the series of attacks eight years ago in and around Paris, including the 12 people killed at the magazine's offices.

"We will never forget you," he wrote, with a drawing by the well-known French cartoonist Plantu below.

Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne also marked the anniversary of the attacks that involved a deadly siege at a kosher supermarket.

"In the face of Islamist terrorism, the Republic remains standing," she tweeted. "For their families, for our values, for our liberty: we do not forget."

And Culture Minister Rima Abdul Malak tweeted: "Satire, irreverence, the republican tradition of press cartoons are intrinsic to our democracy. We continue to defend them."

The tributes came days after Tehran reacted furiously to cartoons mocking Iran's leadership in the latest issue of Charlie Hebdo, which appeared on Wednesday.

The magazine had invited cartoonists to depict Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in the context of continuing demonstrations against his theocratic regime, by women in particular.

The graphic front cover sought to highlight the fight for women's rights, while others were sexually explicit and insulting towards Mr Khamenei and fellow clerics.

Many cartoons pointed to the authorities' use of capital punishment as a tactic to quell the protests.

In response, Iran summoned France's ambassador and called on the government to hold "the authors of such hatred" to account.

On Thursday, it said it was closing the Tehran-based French Institute for Research.

"France has no right to insult the sanctities of other Muslim countries and nations under the pretext of freedom of expression," Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanani said.

French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin, centre, and Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, left, attend a ceremony marking the eighth anniversary of the attack on the offices of Charlie Hebdo in the French capital. AFP

In Paris on Saturday, Interior Minister Gerard Darmanin and the city's mayor Anne Hidalgo were among the politicians who attended a ceremony at the former offices of Charlie Hebdo, in the city's 11th arrondissement.

It was there that two gunmen killed staff at the magazine, including some of its best-known cartoonists.

A few metres further down the same street, police lieutenant Ahmed Merabet was gunned down by the killers as he tried to stop their escape.

The gunmen, who claimed to represent Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, said they were taking revenge for previous satirical cartoons in the magazine depicting the Prophet Mohammed. They were killed after two days on the run.

The day after the Charlie Hebdo attack, another extremist gunman killed a police officer in Montrouge, just outside Paris. A day later he killed four hostages at a Jewish supermarket in eastern Paris.

He was shot dead as police stormed the shop and freed the remaining hostages.

Updated: January 08, 2023, 12:33 PM