As many as a million marchers and several European heads of state attended a rally in Paris today showing solidarity with France and the victims of this week's attacks.
President Francois Hollande and leaders from Germany, Italy, Israel, Turkey, Britain and the Palestinian territories among others, moved off from the central Place de la Republique ahead of a sea of French and other flags. Giant letters attached to a statue in the square spelt out the word Pourquoi?" (Why?) and small groups sang the "La Marseillaise" national anthem.
Some 2,200 police and soldiers patrolled Paris streets to protect marchers from would-be attackers, with police snipers on rooftops and plain-clothes detectives mingling with the crowd. City sewers were searched ahead of the vigil and underground train stations around the march route are due to be closed down.
The silent march - which may prove the largest seen in modern times through Paris - reflected shock over the worst militant Islamist assault on a European city in nine years. For France, it raised questions of free speech, religion and security, and beyond French frontiers it exposed the vulnerability of states to urban attacks.
"Paris is today the capital of the world. Our entire country will rise up and show its best side," said Hollande in a statement.
We sent Eric Holder over, and the irony of course is that Bibi Netanyahu is there, along with Turkish PM Erdogan, which really, really puts the concept of free speech into perspective. Angela Merkeal and David Cameron, too. These folks don't believe in freedom of speech any more than the guys who shot up Charlie Hebdo did.
A very different reaction than America's some thirteen years ago, but America has its own immigration fight now after Republicans politicized the Department of Homeland Security, and the stakes just got a lot higher in their quest to shut down the DHS over President Obama's immigration orders.
Senate and House Republicans are warning against a standoff with President Obama and Senate Democrats that could shut down the department tasked with protecting the homeland within weeks of terrorist attacks against Western targets. They worry the GOP could wind up taking the blame, which is what happened when a dispute over implementation of the Affordable Care Act shuttered the federal government for 16 days.
While Republicans are unified in their desire to reverse the executive order Obama issued after Election Day shielding an estimated 5 million illegal immigrants from deportation, some are warning Tea Party colleagues such as Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) not to take the fight too far.
“Defunding that part of the bill that deals with enforcing the executive order makes sense but we can’t go too far here because look what happened in Paris. The Department of Homeland Security needs to be up and running,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.).
Former Homeland Security Committee Chairman Peter King (R-N.Y.) on Friday called it “absolutely essential” that counterterrorism be funded given the spate of attacks around the world.
A Senate GOP aide warned that Democrats would pounce on a departmental shutdown to accuse Republicans of prioritizing the desires of their conservative base over national security.
“There’s no question that if the DHS shuts down in some way, Democrats will do everything to take full advantage of the situation,” the aide said.
It's the Republicans who set up this shutdown showdown. Now they're complaining that it's a terrible idea? It always was. Now the plan is to put a bill on the table defunding immigration or risk shutting down Homeland Security completely anyway?