Winnipeggers hold vigil to honour victims of Paris attacks
'I was very shocked and very sad for my country,' says French university exchange student
Following a demonstration of solidarity against terrorism that saw close to 3.7 million take to the streets of France Sunday, Winnipeggers also held a vigil Monday to show their support for those affected by the deadly attacks in Paris last week.
It has been less than a week since three gunmen stormed the Paris offices of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo with assault rifles and killed 12 people, eight of them journalists and cartoonists targeted for publishing depictions of the Prophet Muhammad. Subsequent attacks in Paris resulted in another five people being killed.
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A group gathered at the Université de Saint-Boniface at noon Monday to stand in unity with France.
Marquie helped organize the Monday vigil.
“It was really important for me to support my country, the victims, and speech freedom, and because it's a French university,” said Marquie.
Lizzie Bisson with the university's student association said she felt compelled to get involved after a student from France came to her in tears.
“We have to stand with our French brothers and sisters,” said Bisson. “But we are all human, too. We can all see what has happened is wrong. We need to work together to stop it, stop terrorism, to stop fighting.”
Université de Saint-Boniface president Gabor Csepregi said in the wake of tragedy, it is important to pause and reflect on the nature of the events and how to move forward.
“What can we do together, to eliminate fanaticism in our society?” asked Csepregi. “How can we approach people? How can we understand different religions, different opinions, different ideologies?”
Marquie said she remains in regular contact with her family in France as security forces remain on high alert.
“I was very worried for my family, who live in Paris, because last week in France, especially in Paris, it was very dangerous,” she said.
While Marquie is still concerned there could be more attacks in France, she said she was touched to see the millions of people come together in the streets of Paris and across France Sunday to honour those killed.