Twelve people were killed Wednesday morning in Paris during an apparent terror attack at satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.
Sylvain Gaulier, recent Suffolk graduate and former Journal staff member who currently lives in Lille, France, said this isn’t the first time the organization has been attacked.
“A newspaper has never been targeted and attacked this way before,” according to Gaulier. “However, these journalists were victims of other attacks in the past when their office was burned down. They may be protected by police, but not very well.”
Gaulier recalled that “Charlie Hebdo is famous for making fun of everything, including religions. They proclaimed themselves ‘atheist and champion of free speech.’”
Margaret Gilmore, a security analyst from the Royal United Services Institute believed the apparent terror attack had been clearly planned, based on a video BBC released on its website. The video shows alleged shooters with a getaway car. Analysts said the suspects have likely gone through military training in the past, pointing out the single shots fired during the attack, rather than random firing.
BBC reported there will be a major police operation to find the three gunmen who fled in the getaway car, which was found abandoned in Northern Paris later on that day.
Gilmore said to BBC after she watched the video, “They had a very obvious militant style. They had each other’s backs. They knew how to confront police officers. The had a getaway plan. They are people with some battlefield experience.” Gilmore also suggested that the attackers might be soldiers who just left Syria.
Gilmore identified Islamic slogans the suspects shouted, including, “We have avenged the Prophet Muhammad” and “God is Great.”
According to Gaulier, residents have started protesting in support of Charlie Hebdo and freedom of the press in French cities, including his own hometown, Lille, which held a protest Wednesday evening. There will be more protests in the next coming days.
“This is not the first direct attack against journalists,” Gaulier said, “but it sends a powerful message to journalists, and especially French journalists who express unfavorable opinions to the Islamists, such as cartoons of Mahomet.”
Governments across Europe told President Francois Hollande they would be his side and aid the country, according to reports by BBC.
“Terrorist attacks are relatively uncommon in France, even though we noticed a wave of isolated actions by Islamists against a targeted population in Western Europe,” said Gaulier.
According to the Daily Mail, people of France and Britain have declared tomorrow as a day of mourning. Many of the protesters who met in Paris, Madrid, and Berlin, have adopted the slogan of “Je Suis Charlie,” which translates to “I am Charlie.”
Others have raised a pen in silence to show they support freedom of expression, speech, and the press. At Place de la Republique in Paris, a banner hangs saying, “Nous sommes Charlie.”
Around midnight, France will be taking a moment of silence in order to remember the victims, according to BBC.