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10. 1. 2015 12:00

Prime minister Sobotka and foreign minister Zaorálek to join Paris march in memory of terrorist attack victims on Sunday

On Sunday 11 January, prime minister Bohuslav Sobotka and foreign minister Lubomír Zaorálek will take part in the Unity Rally in Paris in memory of the victims of the terrorist attack that has played out in the French capital in the past few days.

Sunday’s commemoration march aims to pay tribute to the victims of the terrorist attack on the offices of the French satirical periodical Charlie Hebdo and to express the resolve to defend democratic values such as freedom of speech, freedom of religion and the equality of all. The Unity Rally (Marche républicaine) will begin at 3 PM in Place de Republique in the heart of Paris.

"Terrorism, hatred and fanaticism know no borders. Europe must fight against them as one and therefore it is very important to show solidarity with France at this tragic moment. Ensuring the broadest possible international participation in Sunday’s Paris rally is one way of doing this," said the Czech PM Bohuslav Sobotka.

The organisers of Sunday’s large Unity Rally in Paris expect the march to be attended by up to several hundred thousand people. Numerous European leaders, including German chancellor Angela Merkel, British prime minister David Cameron and the Italian premier Matteo Renzi, have confirmed that they will be there. The European Union’s top-tier leaders – Donald Tusk, Jean-Claude Juncker, Federica Mogherini or Martin Schulz – are also said to be attending.

“Naturally, by attending the rally in Paris, I want to honour the victims of the terrorist attack and show solidarity with all of the bereaved. I also see this event as an opportunity to show that we are determined to defend the fundamental democratic principle of freedom of speech. The Greek philosopher Diogenes once expressed the view that freedom of speech was the most excellent thing among people. We should constantly remind ourselves of this because this is one of the core values on which the whole of Europe is built,” said Czech foreign minister Lubomír Zaorálek.

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