Hundreds attend silent vigil

Standing up for press freedom in Luxembourg

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Hundreds of people stood up for press freedom and freedom of speech in Luxembourg on Thursday morning when they attended a silent vigil in the capital.

Estimates put the number gathering in Place Clairefontaine at around 500 people, who braved the wet weather to send out a clear message following Wednesday's attack on French satirical magazine “Charlie Hebdo”.

Press Council Chairman Roger Infalt began the vigil at 11.30am by reading out the names of the 12 people killed in the assassination.

Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel, meanwhile, reassured France that it had Luxembourg's solidarity. He added that Luxembourg would do everything in its power so that freedom of the press and democracy would not go to the dogs.

After the speeches, silence was maintained as the peaceful crowd, almost all bearing placards, continued to swell, overseen by a handful of police officers.

It was fitting that the vigil was held in front of the statue of Grand Duchess Charlotte, who led the and inspired the country through some of its darkest days of oppression during the Nazi occupation of Luxembourg.

Among the hundreds of people in attendence were various ambassadors, Finance Minister Pierre Gramegna, Environment MinisterCarole Dieschbourg, Luxembourg City Mayor Lydie Polfer, Chamber of Deputies President Mars di Bartolomeo and Luxembourg Schoura Vice President Jean-Luc Karleskind.

Thursday's gathering was organised Luxembourg's Press Council and came after a smaller march for solidarity which took place in the capital on Wednesday evening. It also echoes similar vigils held all over the world in solidarity with the victim's of Wednesday's horrific attack and to speak out for freedom of speech.

No single extremist group has yet claimed responsibility for Wednesday's attack on the Paris headquarters of "Charlie Hebdo", however, it is believed to have been in retaliation for the magazine's controversial decision to publish multiple caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed, which caused deep outrage and saw its offices fire-bombed in 2011.

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