I want Charlie: French rush to buy ‘survivors’ issue’

“Are there any Charlies here?” Parisians asked at various newsstands across the city Wednesday as they chased down copies of the satirical magazine’s first edition since a jihadist attack decimated its editorial staff.

Most of them were left disappointed as the first delivery of what Charlie Hebdo has called the “survivors’ issue” flew off the shelves in just minutes.

Catherine Boniface, 58, a doctor, tried several kiosks by the time she arrived at one in eastern Paris where the vendor said he had sold out all 150 copies of the magazine within 10 minutes.

“I am a little disappointed. This issue is symbolic, it represents their persistance, they didn’t yield in the face of” terror, said Boniface, who is not a regular reader of the weekly.

Researcher Pierre Asselin and his actor friend Eric gave up after their third attempt.

“We will try again tomorrow,” said Asselin, as a girl rushing past to the metro station interrupted and asked: “Are there any Charlies here?”

“No”, Pierre and Eric say in unison. “Argh” the girl said, rushing away.

It was a week ago that the satirical magazine, known for lampooning religions and angering Muslims by printing images of the Prophet Mohammed, came under attack.

Two black-clad gunmen wielding Kalashnikovs burst into Charlie Hebdo’s editorial meeting at its Paris offices, spraying bullets in an attack that left a total of 12 people dead.

It was the start of three days of terror that gripped Paris as police hunted the gunmen, and an accomplice to the killers emerged, gunning down a policewoman before taking hostages at a Jewish supermarket where another four died.

– ‘A way to show support’ –

To many French people, like teacher Jan Stragier, 33, buying the magazine is “a way to show support, it is a historical edition.”

The weekly, which was struggling to sell its 60,000 copies a week ago, has launched an extended print run that will eventually total five million copies.

“It was incredible. I had a queue of 60-70 people waiting for me when I opened,” said a woman working at a newspaper kiosk in Paris.

“I’ve never seen anything like it.”

The new issue features a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammed on its cover, holding a “Je Suis Charlie” sign under the headline “All is forgiven”.

It has angered Muslim groups in some countries that oppose depictions of Islam’s founder, while the Islamic State group said it was an “extremely stupid” act.

“Our Mohammed is above all just a guy who is crying,” said cartoonist Luz, who designed the new front cover. “He is much nicer than the one followed by the gunmen.”

New copies are expected to reach newsstands across France in the coming days.

Anne, 45, was also left empty handed, but says she is not too disappointed.

“I am happy, it means it is successful,” she said.

Photo Credits : AFP

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