Vigil held in Leeds over Charlie Hebdo attack

French journalist Mireille Mason-Beguin.
French journalist Mireille Mason-Beguin.
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A FRENCH journalist is urging people from across Leeds to stand united and take part in a vigil against the Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris.

Mum-of-two Mireille Mason-Beguin has organised the event at Millennium Square at 2pm on Sunday, January 11, and is inviting all Leeds people, including the city’s French residents and Muslim community, to come together and put on a united front against the recent terror attacks.

Masked gunmen stormed the Paris offices of Charlie Hebdo, a French satirical newspaper, on Wednesday, killing 12 people in the country’s worst terrorist attack since 1961.

Mireille, who now lives in Leeds, said: “What has happened in Paris in the last few days has really affected me.

“It is absolutely shocking and terrible.

“The vigil is a peaceful event to support our values and our right for freedom of speech and freedom of thinking.”

Mireille, 41, previously worked as a presenter at Direct 8 – a French television channel.

She added: “Charlie Hebdo is really part of our culture in France and every journalist there knows it very well.

“We need to show support for Charlie Hebdo because the idea of freedom of speech is a common value we all hold.”

The vigil ties in with a similar event that will be held in Paris on the same day.

Prime Minister David Cameron announced yesterday that he will be joining French President Francois Hollande at a specially-organised national unity rally in Paris.

In a message on Twitter, Mr Cameron confirmed that he will travel to Paris for the rally, saying: “I’ve accepted President Hollande’s invitation to join the Unity Rally in Paris this Sunday - celebrating the values behind #CharlieHebdo.”

Vigils have been held across the world, with many people holding banners reading ‘Je suis Charlie’ in a show of solidarity.

Condemning the attack earlier this week, Mr Cameron said: “The murders in Paris are sickening.

“We stand with the French people in the fight against terror and defending the freedom of the press.”

Mr Cameron will join leaders of France’s mainstream parties, including former president Nicolas Sarkozy, as well as politicians from several other countries to take part in the march through the streets of the French capital on Sunday.

The Queen has also sent a message of condolence to France’s president Francois Hollande in which she expressed her sincere condolences to the families of those who were killed in the attack.