The first edition of Charlie Hebdo published after the deadly attacks by Islamist gunmen sold out within minutes at newspaper kiosks around France today, with people queuing up to buy copies to support the satirical weekly.
“I’ve never bought it before, it’s not quite my political stripes, but it’s important for me to buy it today and support freedom of expression,” said David Sullo, standing at the end of a queue of two dozen people at a kiosk in central Paris.
A print run of up to three million copies has been set for what has been called “the survivors’ edition”, dwarfing the usual 60,000 run. But still, many outlets were selling out fast.
“It’s important for me to buy it and show solidarity by doing so, and not only by marching,” said 42-year old Laurent in the same queue, adding he had no guarantee he would get a copy because he had not reserved one the day before.
The newsagent at Gare du Nord rail station said it opened at 5:15 am local instead of the usual 6:00, and its 200 copies sold out in less than 15 minutes.
Seventeen people died in Paris in three days of violence that began with the attack by two Islamist gunmen on the offices of Charlie Hebdo on January 7 – in which 12 people were killed – and ended with a siege at a kosher supermarket two days later.
At least 3.7 million marched through Paris on Sunday to honour the memory of the journalists, police officers and supermarket customers who had died.
The front page of Charlie Hebdo’s edition today shows a cartoon of a tearful Mohammad with a sign “Je suis Charlie” (I am Charlie) below the headline: “Tout est pardonne” (All is forgiven).
“I wrote ‘all is forgiven’ and I cried,” Renald “Luz” Luzier, who created the image, told a news conference on Tuesday at the weekly’s temporary office at left-wing daily Liberation.
“This is our front page ... it’s not the one the terrorists wanted us to draw,” he said. “I’m not worried at all ... I trust people’s intelligence, the intelligence of humour.”
Inside the edition, the weekly’s usual irreverent humour was on display. One cartoon shows jihadists saying: “We shouldn’t touch Charlie people ... otherwise they will look like martyrs and, once in heaven, these bastards will steal our virgins.”
All proceeds from the sale of this week’s edition will go directly to Charlie Hebdo, in a windfall for a publication that had been struggling financially, after distributors decided to waive their cut. A call for donations has also been aired on national media.
Digital versions will be posted in English, Spanish and Arabic, while print editions in Italian and Turkish will also appear.
Meanwhile, the magazine is expected to reach shop shelves here by the end of the week.
“Eason will be stocking the magazine,” a spokesman for the retailer said. “There is a delay in distribution, so although it goes on sale in France today, it will not be available internationally until Friday.
“We’re still trying to figure out what stores we’ll be able to distribute it to, but O’Connell Street would be a sure one. It’s the first time that it’s been distributed here,” they said.