Leading the march down the Boulevard Voltaire at 3 p.m. — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Mali President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, French President Francois Hollande, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, walking arm in arm, in a show of unity against terrorism.
Security at the rally was intense, according to CNN. Officials said 2,300 police officers and paramilitary officers would be deployed. Snipers, plainclothes officers, anti-terrorist specialists ,and special units were deployed to protect the world leaders in attendance. France and all of Europe is on high alert for copycat attacks, as well as retaliatory attacks on Muslims.
The mood at the rally was described by the New York Times as "somber display of solidarity and defiance." Many wore Charlie Hebdo headbands, waved "Je suis Charlie" flags, and held a giant pencil aloft. Some even held up the magazine's satirical cartoons, which were the purported instigation of the terror attacks. Many sang the French national anthem and spontaneously thanked the police protecting them at the march.
Though on Friday police killed the two gunman of the Charlie Hebdo shootings, Cherif and Said Kouachi, and Amedy Coulibaly, one of the gunmen in the grocery store attack, the world is now on high alert. French security officials said terrorist sleeper cells have been awoken after last week. Before the rally, the French Interior Ministry held a security summit of world leaders, including U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder the New York Times reports. Holder announced a forum on global security would also be held in Washington, DC on February 18.