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Paris attacks: Hundreds rally and march in Vancouver

01/11/2015 07:23 EST | Updated 03/13/2015 05:59 EDT
Hundreds of Vancouver residents showed up at noon Sunday and became part of a global rally in support of the victims of the recent attacks in Paris that left at least 20 dead including three gunmen.

They gathered at the Vancouver Art Gallery and participated in a quiet, sombre march through Vancouver, holding placards that said, "Je suis Charlie," and "Not Afraid."

Pierre Touzel said it was heartwarming to see so many people show up.

"We are in solidarity with our country, with our fellow citizens in France," said the French native. "We feel more French than ever today and not only us, but Canadians who join us as well."

Franc Point said it's about more than terrorism. Democracy, itself, is at stake.

"Three people tried to bring France to its knees but actually millions of people just stood up and showed to the world that nobody can stop democracy," he said. "I have children and I want to make sure we pass on to the new generation a world that I’m used to and try to make sure we don’t lose."

Thor Berggren said he took French immersion in Coquitlam and has been to France and has a lot of French friends.

He said it's disheartening to see people confusing the issue with religion.

"It’s not about religion," he said. "It’s about extremism."

"Most people understand it’s not a religious issue. It’s the fact there’s extremists who will violate pluralism and Canada is growing because of pluralism and we all want to be a successful country with unification of different beliefs."

Marchers formed a solemn procession from the Vancouver Art Gallery, down Dunsmuir Street to Cambie, then up Georgia to Robson Square.

The march and rally lasted about an hour.

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