POLICE across Sussex fell silent this morning, paying tribute to those killed during an apparent militant Islamist attack in Paris yesterday (Wednesday, January 7).
Officers from across Sussex Police joined their colleagues from police forces in Hampshire and Dorset in a two-minute silence at 10.30am to mark the Charlie Hebdo magazine massacre, which left 12 dead and France on its highest level of terror alert.
Deputy Chief Constable Olivia Pinkney led the service, quoting philosopher Voltaire- “I may not agree with what you have to say but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”
She continued: “Our job, as a proud police profession, is to protect the vulnerable, keeping people safe from harm. Yesterday our French colleagues were murdered doing simply that, dying alongside 10 others and today another officer has been murdered in the south of Paris.
“We are the police family. We stand with you, our colleagues in France as you mourn and honour those killed. As you continue to bravely walk towards danger in your hunt for those who have caused such horror, we continue to police today as you do in France and will do every day.”
Two gunmen, clad in black, wearing balaclavas and armed with assault rifles, stormed the headquarters of the satirical publication – which had previously mocked the prophet Muhammad in 2011 – while staff were holding their morning meeting.
A total of nine journalists from the paper, alongside two police officers and one other, were killed during the offensive, The Guardian has said.
Four others are believed to be in a critical condition.
The masked men fled in a car, prompting one of the largest manhunts in France’s history.
More than 3,000 police officers were mobilised to hunt down the gunmen.
Speaking to the media yesterday, French President Francois Hollande said there was no doubt the assault had been a terrorist attack ‘of exceptional barbarity’.
Prime Minister David Cameron has also condemned the slaughters.
Commenting on Twitter, he said: “The murders in Paris are sickening. We stand with the French people in the fight against terror and defending the freedom of the press.”
Last night tens of thousands of people took to the streets of the French capital, and others across the globe, in a display of united defiance against the onslaught.
Crowds held placards with the slogan #JeSuisCharlie – ‘I am Charlie’ – written in French on them.
It came as French commandos continued their hunt for the suspected terrorists.
Police are searching for two brothers, Said Kouachi and Cherif Kouachi, in connection with yesterday’s killings.
Latest reports suggest that two men, matching the description of the suspects, have been spotted during an armed robbery at a petrol station near Villers-Cotteret, in the northern Aisne region, east of Paris, earlier today.
Sky News reported that shots were fired shots during the alleged incident.
Yesterday evening heavily armoured French police raided an apartment in the city of Reims in the hunt for the killers.
A total of seven people were detained overnight as a result of this, French officials reported.
The British Government has said that, in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo attack, it would not be changing the UK terror threat level, which is currently set at ‘severe’.
Yesterday’s terror attack is believed to be the deadliest in France since 1961, when right-wingers who wanted to keep Algeria French bombed a train, killing 28 people.