Hundreds in L.A. hold rally for victims of terror attacks in France

Hundreds gather outside L.A. City Hall to show solidarity against last week's terrorist attacks in France

Hundreds gathered Sunday outside Los Angeles City Hall to show solidarity against last week's terrorist attacks in France and to pay tribute to the 17 people killed.

The somber rally symbolically linked Southern Californians with the more than 1 million people who marched in Paris in a show of unity and defiance after the attacks on the offices of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and a kosher grocery.

"This is a moment to mourn and show our determination to stand together and not be divided by terrorism," said Axel Cruau, France's consul general in Los Angeles.

Demonstrators in Los Angeles, including members of its French community, local elected officials, rabbis and other religious leaders, commemorated the victims and called for peace and unity in the face of violence and extremism.

Deborah Dutilh, an actor from Westchester who lived in France for 30 years, said the killings revived the same grief she felt after the 9/11 attacks.

"My heart is torn over this," said Dutilh, who held back tears as she stood in the crowd.

The attacks were not only against French journalists, the Jewish community and police, she and other demonstrators said, but against religious tolerance, democracy and freedom of expression.

Many of the demonstrators brought flowers, candles and French flags and hoisted signs and caricatures from the magazine. One group stood in a row holding black umbrellas painted to spell out "We are Charlie!"

After a series of speeches, demonstrators sang, chanted and held a moment of silence for the victims.

Patrick Chappatte, a Lebanese-Swiss editorial cartoonist for the International New York Times who is a visiting fellow at USC, knew two of the slain Charlie Hebdo cartoonists. He held up a pencil to show solidarity with his friends and colleagues.

The violence against cartoonists, he said, was an attack on anyone who reads them, thinks or makes jokes.

"We need humor to digest the tragedies of the world," he said. "It's hard to accept that the people bringing us that humor were victims of tragedy themselves."

Copyright © 2018, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World