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After Mass Killing In Paris, People Take To The Streets


The manhunt for the suspects in yesterday's attack in Paris continues. Twelve people were killed by gunmen who targeted the editorial offices of Charlie Hebdo, a French satirical magazine. Let's go now to Paris for more from the Reuters Paris Bureau and reporter John Irish. Good morning.

JOHN IRISH: Good morning.

MONTAGNE: Now we've been hearing a lot about how Parisians have reacted to this attack, and you were out reporting last night. Tell us what you saw.

IRISH: Well, across the city there's obviously a lot of confusion and concern. People flooded to the streets across Paris and across France to show their solidarity in what happened. The streets were packed with police officers at key sites - tourism sites, media offices - and about 800 soldiers were brought into the capital to ensure security. So there's a climate of concern because, as you said, two men are still loose and are trying to be located. And there was also another shooting this morning that, at this point, it's not clear if it's related or not.

MONTAGNE: People flowing, as you say, out into the street spontaneously, that came in spite, as you say, of the fact that the two main suspects are still at large, were still at large. And I'm thinking here of the Boston bombing, where people were told and did in fact stay off the street. Is there a comparison there?

IRISH: I don't know. I mean, all I can say is that I don't think - I mean, I think people are scared naturally. But these guys did flee into some of the eastern suburbs of Paris. And they were pretty planned - their attacks yesterday. They knew what they're doing, they knew where they were going, and they knew what they were hitting. So I guess there's an element of people - well, if they were worried they didn't feel that these guys would go on to a sort of a mass rally and let their guns off. I don't think it's quite the same as what happened in Boston. I think there's generally a feeling of people - the French - saying we need to go on the streets here and show that democracy and freedom won't be defeated by this.

MONTAGNE: Could you take a moment to help us understand how famous these satirical cartoonists were in France? I mean, I've heard they were featured on TV; some wrote children's books. People talk about growing up with them.

IRISH: Yeah, no, that's exactly right. I mean, it was a shock to France because a lot of these guys have been doing the same cartoons, working for this magazine for decades even. And, you know, they didn't just focus on radical Islam or satirical cartoons on the Prophet Mohammed. It was other religions that were targeted, other - politicians. You know, it was a true satirical magazine which people knew, which people liked and which people related to. And, you know, it is a shock to them because, as you said, in France there's a culture of journalists going on TV shows or speaking quite a lot. And these guys were, and they were extremely well-known. And it was definitely - you know, the core of French society was hit by this.

MONTAGNE: Reuters' reporter John Irish is based at Reuters' Paris Bureau. Thank you very much.

IRISH: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.