A rally in solidarity with France in the wake of the terror attacks in Paris this week has been held in Dublin city centre.
A crowd of at least 5,000 marched from the GPO in O'Connell Street to Leinster House in solidarity with the people of France following the terrorist attacks which killed 17 people this week, including 12 at the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.
Many of those who turned out were members of the French community in Ireland, with some holding Je Suis Charlie signs aloft in memory of those killed in the massacre at Charlie Hebdo on Wednesday, and others carrying the French tricolour.
On arrival at the bottom of Kildare Street, they sang the French national anthem La Marseillaise in unison, and other stopped off to sign the book of condolence outside Alliance Francaise.
On arriving outside the gates of Leinster House, they stopped and held a minute’s silence.
The French ambassador to Ireland Jean-Pierre Thébault thanked the crowd for turning out in their thousands.
“The Irish men and women in their thousands who have sent us their condolences and are still doing it, we thank them,” he said.
‘United for freedom’
“I’d like, in the name of the French presence, to say one million, one billion thanks. We are all united for freedom.
“We are united in remembering those journalists who lost their lives to defend this treasured heritage which is freedom for both Ireland and France.
“The terrorists wanted to defeat us by making us fear. The thousands of people present today testifies that they have failed. It testifies that we will stand for freedom wherever it is threatened. It means a lot that you all are here.”
The rally was conspicuous by the number of young people present. Some carried the French tricolour at the start of the rally.
Acknowledging their presence, the ambassador said: “We are not only fighting for our freedom today, we are fighting for our freedom tomorrow.”
The organiser of the rally, Gwen Ferret, was moved to tears by the turnout. She only arrived as a student in Ireland four days ago and set about organising it.
“I am really moved to see all of these people here understanding this is not about France only but it is about all of us. It is beautiful to see not only French people here.”