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Charlie Hebdo candlelight vigil in Vancouver attracts hundreds

01/08/2015 01:33 EST | Updated 03/09/2015 05:59 EDT
As rallies go, it was probably one of the quietest the Vancouver Art Gallery has ever seen. 

Hundreds came to light candles and show by their presence they will not be diminished by violence.

"Je suis Charlie" — I am Charlie , the signs said in recognition that the attack on satirical French newspaper Charlie Hebdo was an attack on free speech everywhere.

People, candles in hand, sat quietly talking to each other in low voices, giving the turnout the look and feel of a church service.

Abbotsford resident Lionel Traverse, a former Paris resident, said satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo pushes the limits, but that's what free speech is all about.

"This is a free society and people have the right to do that," he said, "and if people are offended they don’t have to look at it, they can do something else. They can read another newspaper."

"I feel people who believe in a free press should publish Charlie Hebdo. The CBC should publish Charlie Hebdo and Al Jazeera too because that’s the only answer we have to these fanatics."

Anne-Laure Courturier said when she first heard what was happening, it was hard to believe.

"It was really a shock to hear this, this morning," she said. Twelve people dead for a drawing in a journal. It seems crazy to me. Freedom of expression is really endangered by this so we have to do something and we have to show we are against this."

Student Karim Shaaban, a practising Muslim who came to the vigil said Islam prohibits showing the face of Muhammed.

But he said those who carried out the attack do not represent Islam. Shaaban said the gunmen are sick people.

"Regardless of what the religion is, ethnicity, who it is, killing is never right and it's the never the right way to do things," she said."

Christine Dear said this kind of insanity has to stop.

"If people are going to start murdering in the name of their god over a cartoon, then what have we come to."

If we have something to say, we have a right to express it, no matter if it's a cartoon, or if it's a video blog or what have you. We just as much as anybody has a right to say it, and going in and killing people in the name of god, I don't think god's smiling on them today."

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