Massive ‘Charlie Hebdo’ run goes on sale

Published January 14th, 2015 - 10:45 GMT

Where’s Charlie? Parisians scrambled and, against all their instincts, queued this morning for a copy of the first edition of Charlie Hebdo since last week’s massacre.

Although 3 million copies are to be printed, most newsagents and news kiosks received scarcely more copies than a usual week. By 7am, most newstands in the capital were sold out. Long queues formed outside those which opened later.

It was later announced that, to cope with demand, the print run of this week's Charlie Hebdo woud be increased from 3 million to 5 million. The magazine's normal circulation is around 40,000.

The distributor, les Messageries Lyonnaises de Presse (MLP), said that 500,000 copies a day would be printed for ten days. The initial print run of 500,000 had all been snapped up by 8.30am today.

As expected, the "survivors' edition" of the satirical, anti-religious magazine was a festival of bad taste, including a cartoon of a masturbating nun and the Pope dressed as a mafia boss.

Apart from the cartoon of a tearful Mohamed [PBUH] on the front cover, released in advance, there were several drawings lampooning radical Islam. In one cartoon, signed by Tignous, one of the four cartoonists murdered last week, a trio of jihadists is seen considering their next step.

"We'd better not touch the Charlie Hebdo people," says one. Another replies: "Otherwise those bastards will become martys and when they get to paradise they will pinch all our virgins."

As expected also the magazine poured scorn on some of the right-wing French and repressive foreign politicians who have declared themselves to be "Charlie" in the last week.

A unsigned editorial said: "We thank from the bottom of our heart all those individuals and organisations who are sincerely and profoundly Charlie… We pour shit on all the others who don’t give a f*** about us in any case."

The editorial said that, since last week, Charlie Hebdo, "an atheist magazine", had "performed more miracles than all the saints and prophets who ever existed."

"The one that we are most proud of is the one you have in your hands – a newspaper just like the one we have always produced and in the company of those who have always produced it."

Drawings signed by the dead cartoonists – Wolinski, Cabu Tignous and Charb – covered the first two inside pages of the mgazazine. Some were old ones; others were new drawings, performed in the dead man’s style.

The centre-page spread of the magazine was a medley of cheeky cartoons about the immense "Republican marches against hatred" which brought 4 million people on to French strreets at the weekend.

One drawing showed a group of French political leaders, including President Francois Hollande and former president Nicolas Sarkozy. The caption said: "One family of clowns has been decimated; ten others have been found."

There was also a documentary cartoon strip by the British cartoonist David Ziggy Greene, recording events in support of Charlie Hebdo in London in the last week. The last panel showed a man standing stiffly erect holding a "Je suis Charlie" placard. The caption read: "This gut stood alone for more than 3 hours."

The centre-spread also included a strip of "plues" and "minuses" of the marches on Sunday by Luz, a cartoonist who escaped the massacre because he arrived late for the magazine’s weekly editorial meeting.

The "minus" panels included a drawing of a Charlie Hebdo cartoonist pulling a face at having to shake the hand of the Prime Minister Manuel Valls – a Socialst "reformer" hated by the hard left. "Minuses" also included the presence on the march of the German chancellor, Angela Merkel. She is shown saying, in a mixture of French and German: "Ich bin nein porter de culotte" (I don’t wear the trousers)

Further copes of the "survivors'" edition of the magazine were expected to appear in news stands later today and over the next fortnight. The French news distribution system – creaky at the best of times – appears to have failed to cope with the huge demand this morning.

Twelve people died when the Kouachi brothers stormed into the magazine’s offices in eastern Paris a week ago today. The killings began three days of bloodshed in which, in total, 20 people, including three Islamist gunmen, died. 

By John Lichfield

Copyright © Independent Print Limited

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