Statements by François Hollande, President of the Republic: January 9

Address by the President of the Republic, François Hollande / Paris, January 9, 2015

My dear compatriots,

France has been attacked for three consecutive days: on Wednesday, with the attack against Charlie Hebdo, which killed 12 people and seriously injured several others; on Thursday, with the murder of a municipal police woman and the assault of an employee in Montrouge; and today with two hostage sieges, one of which was in Paris, in Porte de Vincennes, which killed four people.

France faced up to the situation. First, I would like to express my wholehearted solidarity with the families, the victims, and the injured. France faced up to the situation; she overcame an ordeal that was a tragedy for the nation, but she had a duty to do so.

The murderers have been taken out of harm’s way thanks to a two-fold intervention: one in Dammartin-en-Goële, in a warehouse and the other in Porte de Vincennes, at a Kosher store. I want to pay tribute to the courage, bravery and effectiveness of the gendarmes, the police officers, and all those who took part in these operations. I would like to tell them that we are proud; we are proud of them because when the order was given, they launched the attack simultaneously, and achieved the same result. They did so to save the lives of the hostages. They did so to neutralize the terrorists, those who had committed murders.

But even though she is aware that she has faced up to this situation and her security forces are composed of men and women who are capable of bravery and courage, France knows that there will be more threats targeted against her.

I call on you to remain vigilant, united and mobilized. Vigilance must be demonstrated, first and foremost, by the State. The Prime Minister and I have further stepped up the protection of our public places so that we may live quietly, without being subject to threats or dangers. But we must be alert.

I call on you to remain united, because – as I previously told the French people – it’s our best weapon. We must show our determination to fight against anything that could divide us, and to be merciless when it comes to racism and anti-Semitism. For it was an appalling act of anti-Semitism that was committed today at that kosher store.

Not being divided means we must not paint people with a broad brush, we must reject facile thinking and eschew exaggeration. Those who committed these terrorist acts, those terrorists, those fanatics, have nothing to do with the Muslim religion.

Finally, we must mobilize our efforts. We must be able to respond to attacks by force, when we have no choice, but also through solidarity. We must show just how effective solidarity is. We are a free nation that does not give in to pressure, that is not afraid, because we have an ideal that is greater than we are and we are able to defend it wherever peace is threatened.

Once more I want to pay tribute to our soldiers who make it possible for us to shoulder our responsibilities with respect to terrorism.

Many leaders from around the world have expressed their solidarity with us. Several have told me that they will attend the mass demonstration on Sunday. I will be with them, and I call on all French people to stand up, this Sunday, for the values of democracy, freedom and pluralism that are so important to us all, and which Europe, in a way, represents.

I promise you that we will emerge even stronger from this ordeal.

Vive la République et vive la France.

Last modified on 12/01/2015

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