Australia’s communication minister Malcolm Turnbull has described last night’s terrorist attack at satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris where shooters gunned down 12 people as “an attack on every free society, every journalist, every newspaper, every broadcaster.”
The attack, which left the editor and 11 others dead, has stunned the world and people are rallying in support of Charlie Hebdo.
By Wednesday evening local time, French law enforcement was aware of the names and birth dates of the alleged perpetrators. Metro reported one of the suspects is 34 years old, another is 32, and the third is 18.
There are reports the suspects are in the north east French district of Reims where an anti-terrorism operation is underway.
Here’s what Turnbull said.
A century ago, Australians and Frenchmen were in the trenches of the Western Front fighting and dying to defend France and uphold the freedoms cherished by us both. And our servicemen and women are together in freedom’s fight today.
We are heartbroken by the news from Paris and our thoughts and prayers are with the victims, their families and the people of France whose liberty and security has been so grievously attacked in the terrorists’ massacre of the staff of the newspaper Charlie Hebdo in Paris yesterday.
This attack was a murderous assault on civilisation and in particular on one of its key foundations – a free and independent press. It was an attack on every free society and on every journalist, every cartoonist, every newspaper, every broadcaster.
Thousands of Parisians have filled the Place de la Republique to show their solidarity, their compassion, their love of liberty and their determination not to be intimidated by terrorists and their cult of hate and death.
“Je suis Charlie” their signs read.
From Australia, and around the world, we can all say today “Nous sommes aussi Charlie.”
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott also condemned the atrocity in Paris.
“The thoughts of all Australians are with the families of those who have lost their lives in this barbaric act,” he said.
“Freedom of expression is the cornerstone of a free society.”
He said Australia’s national terrorism alert level remains at high, which means a terrorist attack is likely.
“Our security agencies are assessing the situation for security implications to Australia but there is no information to suggest that there is an imminent threat to Australia as a result of the Paris atrocity,” he said.
“All Australians should remain vigilant, and again, I urge people who see or hear something that they feel is not right, to contact the National Security Hotline immediately on 1800 123 400.
“Australia stands with the people and the government of France at this difficult time.”
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