Updated | Justice Minister joins Charlie Hebdo tribute march in Valletta

Owen Bonnici: 'We need to understand why people born and bred in Europe decide to join extreme Islamist groups' 

Owen Bonnici at the march
Owen Bonnici at the march

Justice Minister Owen Bonnici joined around 60 people in a walk in Valletta held to condemn this week’s series of militant attacks in France.

“We need to understand why people born and bred in Europe decide to join extreme Islamist groups,” Bonnici said in comments to MaltaToday. “Every Maltese person feels French today. Malta forms part of Europe too, so we feel as though what happened in France happened in Malta too.”

“Such marches send out a message of what we believe in. It is an opportunity for us to think about our European values and ensure that they remain the heart with which Europe beats.”

The marchers, most of whom were French, walked through Republic Street, Valletta in a largely silent walk, holding candles, posters bearing the words ‘I am Charlie’ and pencils symbolising the murdered Charlie Hebdo cartoonists. The march ended at St George’s Square with the people laying down the candles and posters by a street lamp and singing the French national anthem.

On Wednesday, brothers Cherif and Said Kouachi assaulted the offices of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, killing 12 people- including eight journalists and two police officers. On Thursday, Amedy Coulibaly shot a policewoman dead in Montrouge and on Friday, the same gunman stormed a kosher supermarket and killed four people.   

Coulibaly and the Kouachi brothers were both shot dead on Friday by police in two separate sieges, and a manhunt has been launched for Coulibaly’s partner, Hayat Boumeddiene.

Over a million people, including around 40 world leaders, gathered in Paris this afternoon to take part in a unity march.

 

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