Charlie Hebdo to publish next week

AFP , Thursday 8 Jan 2015

A journalist holds a press card wallet during a minute of silence in front of the Paris offices of weekly satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo in Paris the day after a shooting at their offices January 8, 2015 (Photo: Reuters)

The French satirical newspaper whose staff was decimated in an Islamist attack will publish as scheduled next week, one of its surviving staff members told AFP on Thursday.

Charlie Hebdo will publish next Wednesday to defiantly show that "stupidity will not win," said columnist Patrick Pelloux, who is also an emergency room doctor.

He added that the remaining staff held a meeting on Thursday to discuss its future.

"It's very hard. We are all suffering, with grief, with fear, but we will do it anyway because stupidity will not win," said Pelloux.

He said that the publication would have to be put together outside Charlie Hebdo's headquarters, which were not accessible following the massacre.

"We'll do it from home, we'll make it work," Pelloux vowed.

Twelve people, including five cartoonists, were killed in Wednesday's attack that also left two policemen dead.

The cartoon-reliant newspaper -- whose name is inspired by the American comic book character Charlie Brown from the series "Peanuts" (with "Hebdo" being French slang for weekly) -- normally has a print run of 60,000 per week.

Next week's edition, though, is expected to far surpass that given the worldwide attention brought by the massacre. A lawyer for the newspaper said one million copies would be printed.

Charlie Hebdo's staff had been the target of death threats for years, ever since 2006 when it reprinted 12 cartoons of Islam's Prophet Mohammed published the previous year by the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten.

Even though the paper was under police protection, two masked men wielding automatic assault rifles were able to carry out Wednesday's methodical, military-style assault and escape.

Previously, the worst attack the newspaper had suffered was in 2011, the day it published more of its own caricatures of Mohammed. Then, suspected Islamists firebombed its empty premises.

Wednesday's attack wiped out most of its leading figures.

The newspaper's 47-year-old editor-in-chief, Stephane "Charb" Charbonnier, who was also one of its cartoonists, was murdered along with his police bodyguard.

Four other cartoonists, all major names in France -- Jean "Cabu" Cabut, 76; Georges Wolinski, 80; Bernard "Tignous" Verlhac, 57; and Philippe Honore, 73 -- were also slain, as were three other employees, including a notable economist for French radio, Bernard Maris.

Others killed were a cleaning man the assailants shot on the ground floor as they entered the building, and a policeman they executed in cold blood as he lay wounded on the pavement outside.

Pelloux, who is head of France's emergency room doctors' association, said the news editor and two others who contributed to the newspaper were wounded in the attack.

They were Laurent "Riss" Sourisseau, also a cartoonist in addition to being news editor, as well as Philippe Lancon and Fabrice Nicolino.

The 44-year-old publication, which seeks to amuse and provoke readers over current events with irreverent cartoons taking potshots at everything from celebrities, presidents, the pope, jihadists and religions, has long struggled financially.

It recently launched an appeal for donations to keep going.

In the wake of the attack, though, the French government and dozens of media organisations have promised to ensure Charlie Hebdo continues.

"Charlie has to come out. To not do so would be an abdication" of the media's duty, the head of the AFP news agency, Emmanuel Hoog, said after a meeting late Wednesday with several radio, television and newspaper counterparts at the French culture ministry.

Culture Minister Fleur Pellerin said: "We have a mission -- we have to organise ourselves so the next edition of Charlie Hebdo comes out."

France's justice minister, Christiane Taubira, added on Thursday, to France Info radio: "Public aid to help Charlie would be justified. We cannot envision Charlie Hebdo disappearing."

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