People take part in the unity rally on January 11, 2015 in Paris in tribute to the 17 victims of a three-day killing spree by homegrown Islamists
Paris (AFP) - 19:53 GMT - AFP IS CLOSING THIS LIVE REPORT after a day when more than a million people thronged the streets of Paris in the biggest rally in French history, led by dozens of world leaders walking arm-in-arm as cries of "Freedom" and "Charlie" rang out across the country.
The interior ministry said 3.7 million people took to the streets nationwide, with the French capital alone seeing an "unprecedented" 1.5 million demonstrators.
Tens of thousands of people also rallied worldwide in solidarity with France following the Islamist attacks in Paris that killed 17 people, including huge demonstrations in Berlin, Brussels, Vienna and Montreal.
In Israel, where four French Jews killed in a Paris supermarket attack will be buried on Tuesday, more than 500 people gathered in Jerusalem in front of a screen reading in French "Jerusalem is Charlie".
Read on to find out how the afternoon's historic march in the French capital unfolded.
19:51 GMT - NETANYAHU WELCOMES FRANCE'S 'VERY FIRM POSITION' ON ANTI-SEMITISM
19:24 GMT - Supermarket protest - AFP's Christophe Parayre reports from Porte de Vincennes in eastern Paris, where marchers, some carrying Israeli flags, have gathered outside the Jewish supermarket where four hostages were shot dead on Friday.
There are flowers, wreaths and candles piled outside and a woman wearing a French flag with a sticker that says: "I'm Jewish and I'm not afraid."
As security forces pass by the crowd applauds and chants "Bravo police!"
19:17 GMT - AT LEAST 3.7 MILLION MARCH ACROSS FRANCE IN RECORD MOBILISATION: OFFICIAL
- Record crowd -
19:15 GMT - Jumping for Charlie - At the Place de la Nation, protesters spontaneously call for a minute of silence and the crowd falls quiet, AFP journalist Elia Vaissiere reports. A man ends up shouting "Freedom!" and the masses respond with cheers.
Then crowds start leaping around to the chant: "Whoever doesn't jump is not Charlie!" and protesters start a Mexican wave before singing: "Thank you Charlie, Charlie thank you, thank you."
18:39 GMT - Hollande, Netanyahu welcome - Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and French President Francois Hollande are welcomed with loud cheers as they enter a packed Grand Synagogue in Paris.
Parts of the crowd chant Netanyahu's nickname "Bibi" and "Israel will live, Israel will overcome" as the leaders arrive for a ceremony to remember the victims of the Paris attacks.
18:25 GMT - Recap - - More than a million people fill the streets of Paris in a rally for liberty and against terrorism, in what the interior ministry says is of an "unprecedented" magnitude. They are led by dozens of world leaders who link arms and hold a minute's silence for the victims of this week's terror attacks
- more than one million also join rallies in other French towns, while tens of thousands rally in cities across Europe and elsewhere, including Berlin, Brussels and Vienna
- a German tabloid in the northern port city of Hamburg that reprinted Mohammed cartoons from Charlie Hebdo is the target of a firebombing but no one is hurt
- EU and US security ministers meet at France's interior ministry to work out a joint response to the threat of jihadist attacks
- a man resembling Jewish supermarket attacker Amedy Coulibaly claims to be a member of the Islamic State group in a posthumous video released online
- prosecutors say they have linked Coulibaly to the shooting of a jogger in southern Paris just hours after the Charlie Hebdo massacre on Wednesday
18:19 GMT - AFPTV live coverage - Watch live coverage of the march by AFPTV at http://u.afp.com/RLG
18:18 GMT - City of light - A Kurdish man in his forties named Durdu, taking part in the Paris rally, has covered himself from head to toe in "Je suis Charlie" stickers and others that say "Secularism, freedom of expression and anti-racism".
"For several months, we've been fighting a war in Kurdistan against those who sympathise with the people who killed Charlie. It's the same mentality," said the shopkeeper who has lived in France for 19 years.
"No one messes with my France! Paris is the city of light," says Brazilian Marie Badas.
"I learned to read by reading Charlie Hebdo," says the 56-year-old, who has lived in France for 40 years.
Sandra Silvia, 52, from Venezuela is wrapped in a huge French flag and has also dressed her little dog in the Tricolore.
"In any country, it would have been horrifying, but this isn't any country -- this is France. The country of human rights, of freedom, of literature, of the arts. France is a symbol," she said.
18:14 GMT - Synagogue visit - The organ and violins are playing at the Grand Synagogue of Paris -- in the city's 9th district -- ahead of the arrival of President Francois Hollande, says AFP reporter Benoit Fauchet.
Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy and current Prime Minister Manuel Valls have already arrived to loud applause.
18:12 GMT - MOROCCO SNUBS PARIS MARCH DUE TO PRESENCE OF PROPHET CARTOONS: FOREIGN MINISTRY
18:02 GMT - 'Bad men' - Isabelle Dahmani, a French Christian married to a Muslim, Mohammed, brought their three young children to the rally in Paris to show them there is nothing to fear.
Their nine-year-old daughter burst into tears watching the news during the week, Isabelle said, adding she had asked if "the bad men are coming to our house"?
18:01 GMT - Worldwide marches - Tens of thousands of people are rallying worldwide in solidarity with France.
In Israel, where four French Jews killed in a Paris supermarket attack will be buried, more than 500 people gathered in Jerusalem in front of a screen reading in French "Jerusalem is Charlie".
"This is an attack on all of us -- on the Jewish people, on freedom of media and expression," Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat said. Chief rabbi Shlomo Amar said a prayer for all 17 victims.
Dozens of Palestinians also held a rally in the West Bank city of Ramallah, waving Palestinian and French flags and holding up banners reading "Palestine stands with France against terrorism".
Hamas-run Gaza paid tribute to the victims during a candlelit vigil in the enclave.
In Europe one of the biggest rallies was in Berlin where 18,000 people marched wearing T-shirts saying "Checkpoint Charlie Hebdo" -- a reference to the Cold War-era Checkpoint Charlie in the once-divided German city.
In Brussels, Belgian cartoonist Philippe Geluck was in a crowd of 20,000, saying he was marching "in honour of my fallen friends" at the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.
About 25,000 people marched in Canadian city Montreal, organisers said.
- Global response -
17:59 GMT - 25,000 MARCH IN CANADA'S MONTREAL IN SOLIDARITY WITH FRANCE: ORGANISERS
17:51 GMT - 3.3. MILLION MARCH AGAINST EXTREMISM IN FRANCE: AFP TALLY
17:39 GMT - Square crammed - Elia Vaissiere reports for AFP from Place de la Nation, the scheduled end point of the rally, that the square is crammed with people.
"La Marseillaise" resounds followed by rounds of applause and cheers.
A young man climbs on to a window ledge and police tell him: "There are people below you. I advise you to go through or else you'll have to fly!"
A passer-by laughs as he repeats the advice in broken English.
17:20 GMT - Kurds rally - A large group of Kurdish demonstrators are at the Place de la Republique chanting "I'm Kurdish, I am Charlie. We are all Kurdish, we are all Charlie", Nadia Teskrat reports for AFP.
Demonstrators nearby hold up placards reading "Freedom to think, freedom to believe, freedom to live, freedom to laugh", and "The Republic against fanaticism".
17:11 GMT - Cheers for police - AFP's Sophie Huet-Trupheme reports that on Boulevard Saint-Martin, the crowd's applause is deafening as trucks carrying security forces try to make their way along the crowded avenue.
Thomas Urbain relates a similar story from the same neighbourhood when a policeman posted on a roof is spotted by the crowd that burst into cheers and applauds.
"Thank you! Thank you!", chant the demonstrators. This takes several minutes and after a while, the policeman looks at the crowd and raises his thumb in thanks.
- Applause -
17:01 GMT - March for France - At Place de la Bastille a man is distributing placards reading 'I am Charlie' in French and Hebrew, Margaux Benn reports for AFP.
She says a member of a Muslim family handed one to his son and a passer-by took one too.
A young man draped in an Israeli flag, says: "I represent myself but I march for France and the French, including the Muslims."
16:39 GMT - SIZE OF PARIS MARCH 'UNPRECEDENTED': FRENCH INTERIOR MINISTRY
16:38 GMT - German firebombing - German police say it is "too soon" to tell whether there is a connection between a printed Charlie Hebdo tribute and the firebombing of regional daily Hamburger Morgenpost on Sunday.
"Rocks and then a burning object were thrown through the window," a police spokesman told AFP. "Two rooms on lower floors were damaged but the fire was put out quickly." Nobody was at the newspaper's headquarters at the time of the attack, which only caused slight damage.
The tabloid had paid tribute to those killed at Charlie Hebdo by reprinting cartoons from the French satirical paper mocking the Prophet Mohammed.
Police said Sunday's attack had occurred at about 0120 GMT and that two men, aged 35 and 39, seen acting suspiciously near the scene were detained and are being questioned.
On Sunday the offices of a Belgian newspaper that published cartoons were evacuated after it received an anonymous bomb threat, its staff said.
16:35 GMT - 18,000 RALLY IN BERLIN: POLICE
16:17 GMT - MORE THAN ONE MILLION ATTEND MARCHES IN FRENCH TOWNS OUTSIDE PARIS, ACCORDING TO AFP TALLY
16:11 GMT - Muslim support - A Muslim couple joined the rally in Paris carrying a French flag, reports AFP's Stephane Jourdain.
"It is extremely important to march today -- we are tired of anti-Semitism and racism. They (the terrorists] hit us in the heart," says Moumni Khalid, 43, born in France to Moroccan parents.
When he learned of the attack on Charlie Hebdo, Khalid says: "I cried, I screamed, I went crazy."
"We came to say 'no' to terrorists -- we live here, we are French," says his veiled wife Fathia, 38, who has dual Moroccan and French nationality.
"I am already getting bad looks," she says. "But I'm a Muslim but I am against terrorists, inshallah.".
16:03 GMT - 12,000 RALLY IN VIENNA IN SOLIDARITY WITH FRANCE, SAY ORGANISERS
15:57 GMT - Attacker's wife speaks - The wife of Charlie Hebdo attacker Cherif Kouachi has condemned her husband's actions and expressed her feelings for the victims, her lawyer tells AFP on Sunday.
Speaking after she was released from custody on Saturday, Christian Saint-Palais said the young woman had "expressed her indignation and condemnation of violence" to investigators.
According to the lawyer, Cherif Kouachi's wife Izzana Hamyd said she had never seen any sign in her husband to suggest that he might undertake such terrorist activity, and described herself as "stupefied" by the attack.
Cherif Kouachi, 32, and his brother Said killed a dozen people, including two police officers, during their attack on the office of the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo in Paris on January 7.
15:51 GMT - UP TO 1.5 MILLION PEOPLE AT PARIS MARCH, SAY ORGANISERS
15:38 GMT - France defiant - In case you're just joining us, here is a recap of today's events:
- French President Francois Hollande and world leaders including Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas led a mammoth procession through Paris
- A sea of humanity is flowing through the streets of Paris, breaking into applause and spontaneous renditions of the national anthem as a shell-shocked France mourns the victims of three days of bloody violence
- Security in the French capital was beefed up, with police snipers stationed on rooftops and plain-clothes officers among the crowd in a city still reeling from the Islamist attacks that left 17 people dead
- "Today, Paris is the capital of the world," Hollande said. "The entire country will rise up," he told ministers before the march
- More than 600,000 people are rallying against terrorism in towns around the country
15:33 GMT - Belgium evacuation - The offices of a Belgian newspaper that republished Charlie Hebdo cartoons were evacuated on Sunday after an anonymous bomb threat, according to staff members.
The evacuation of Le Soir, a French-language daily, came as thousands of people marched through Brussels in solidarity with France following Islamist attacks.
"An anonymous caller made threats against the editorial side of the paper, after which it was decided to evacuate the building," Maroun Labaki, in charge of the paper's foreign pages, told the Belga news agency.
The caller told journalists the bomb was "going to go off in your newsroom," Le Soir journalist Martine Dubuisson tweeted.
- Security alert -
15:26 GMT - MORE THAN 600,000 JOIN RALLIES IN FRENCH TOWNS
15:24 GMT - London rally - More than 1,000 people have gathered in London's Trafalgar Square to honour the victims of the Islamist attacks in Paris, raising pencils to the sky in memory of those killed at satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.
Those attending the event created a giant circle made up of pencils and baguettes which also featured a giant paper heart carrying messages including "I Am A British Muslim" and "Vive La France" (Long Live France).
- Security operation -
15:09 GMT - 10,000 in Brussels - More than 10,000 people are marching through the Belgian capital Brussels in one of the biggest rallies outside France in solidarity with the Paris terror attacks, a police source tells AFP.
15:00 GMT - Cameron speaks - British Prime Minister David Cameron said extremist violence will remain a threat for many years to come, as he joined a historic march against terrorism in Paris.
"We in Britain face a very similar threat, a threat of fanatical extremism.... It's a threat that has been with us for many years and I believe will be with us for many more years to come," he told British television.
14:58 GMT - Rallies around France - While by far the biggest rally is taking place in Paris, there are several large marches taking place in towns and cities across the country, AFP's Pierre Pratabuy reports.
"In the city of Dijon in eastern France, the police did not have a precise figure on the march that began 15:00 local time (14:00 GMT) but were expecting 20,000 to 30,000 people," says Pratabuy.
"In Grenoble in the southeast, an estimated tens of thousands of people also marched behind a banner reading "We are Charlie, we are all Ahmed, Bernard, Elsa, Cabu, Charb, Honore Michel", containing the names of all the fatalities.
"Still in the southeast, local press report at least 8,000 to 10,000 demonstrators in Vienne in the north of Isere, Chambery and from 5,000 to 3,000 in Albertville in Savoie."
- Nationwide demos -
14:55 GMT - FRANCE'S HOLLANDE GREETS FAMILIES OF ATTACK VICTIMS AT PARIS RALLY
14:51 GMT - 'Charlie, Charlie!" - "The march began from outside the town hall in the 11th district of Paris on Boulevard Voltaire, to the applause of residents watching on from their windows and punctuated by chants of "Charlie, Charlie"," reports AFP's Sabine Wibaux.
"The victims' families are leading the way. Just behind them are Hollande with foreign leaders and political figures.
"The families will continue to Place de la Nation where the foreign press must leave the demo."
14:50 GMT - WORLD LEADERS AT PARIS RALLY OBSERVE MINUTE OF SILENCE
14:39 GMT - AFPTV live coverage - Watch live coverage of the march by AFPTV at http://u.afp.com/RLG
14:39 GMT - World leaders - World leaders link arms at the start of a historic march against terrorism, walking in silence to huge applause as they lead a mammoth procession through the French capital.
Francois Hollande, Angela Merkel and David Cameron are part of the march, as is Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas, though the two did not walk side by side.
14:36 GMT - 'No credible information' - US Attorney General Eric Holder says there is no "credible information" yet that Al-Qaeda was behind the attacks in France that left 17 people dead.
"At this point, we don't have any credible information that would allow us to make a determination as to which organisation was responsible," Holder says in an interview from Paris with ABC's "This Week."
14:30 GMT - HISTORIC PARIS MARCH AGAINST EXTREMISM BEGINS
14:29 GMT - 'NO CREDIBLE INFORMATION' AL-QAEDA BEHIND FRENCH ATTACKS: US
14:21 GMT - 'Love stronger than hate' - "At the front of the procession on Boulevard Voltaire, flags of the League of Human Rights are held aloft alongside those of the Union of Young Jews of France. We also see hundreds of reproductions of cartoons from the Charlie Hebdo weekly magazine," reports AFP's Elia Vaissiere.
"Love is stronger than hate" reads one magazine cover. A group of students hold a large banner reading "for the young Republic".
14:15 GMT - 'We are all French today' - Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi vowed that Europe would "win the challenge against terrorism", as he left the French presidency in Paris to join a historic march against terrorism.
"We are all French today," he added, speaking to journalists as hundreds of thousands of people gathered to march in memory of the 17 victims of an Islamist killing spree.
14:13 GMT - Burial of Jews - The four Jews killed by jihadist Amedy Coulibaly at a kosher supermarket in Paris on Friday will be buried in Israel on Tuesday, a community spokesman has told AFP.
"The four families decided to bury their dead in Israel. The funerals will be held on Tuesday at 10:00 am in the Mount of Olives cemetery" in Jerusalem, the source said.
14:07 GMT - Crowds applaud police - "Crowds in Rue de Turbigo part ways for a police van and applaud the police," reports AFP's David Williams from central Paris.
"The road is blocked by a dense crowd half a kilometre from Place de la Republique."
14:01 GMT - Summary of today's events - - a German tabloid in the northern port city of Hamburg that reprinted Mohammed cartoons from Charlie Hebdo is the target of a firebombing in but nobody is hurt
- European Union and US security ministers meet at France's interior ministry to work out a joint response to the threat of jihadist attacks
- a man resembling Jewish supermarket attacker Amedy Coulibaly claims to be a member of the Islamic State group in a posthumous video released online
- prosecutors say they have linked Coulibaly to the shooting of a jogger in Fontenay-aux-Roses in southern Paris just hours after the Charlie Hebdo massacre
- hundreds of thousands of people, along with world leaders, flood Paris to march against against extremism and terrorism
13:54 GMT - Troops deployed - Security has been beefed up in a jittery Paris still reeling from the Islamist attacks on the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine and a Jewish supermarket, with thousands of extra troops and police deployed to guard the march and snipers positioned along the route.
A security force of around 2,200 will guard the route, running three kilometres (two miles) from the Place de la Republique to Place de la Nation in the east of the capital, Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve has said.
13:51 GMT - 'France is strong' - Lassina Traore, a 34-year-old French-born Muslim from the Ivory Coast, gently places 17 candles at the foot of the monument in the Place de la Republique, heaped with tributes to the dead.
The march is "a real sign of how strong France is. It shows that France is strong when she is united against these people", says the consultant.
"I want to show that we're not scared of the extremists. I want to defend freedom of expression," says 70-year-old Jacqueline Saad-Rouana.
13:46 GMT - Shops deserted - "Thousands of people are walking in the same direction along the Boulevard Haussmann in Paris," Stephane Orjollet reports from the centre of the French capital.
"The department stores are open... and deserted."
13:37 GMT - French flags - "At the location where dignitaries are set to gather before the march, people are starting to hang French flags on their balconies," reports AFP's Guillaume Bonnet.
"One person is even wearing a tracksuit in red, blue and white for the colours of the flag."
13:29 GMT - Families arrive - Family members of the 12 people killed during the massacre at the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine have arrived in advance of the giant rally in Paris, an AFP journalist reports.
Each wore a white bandana on their head with the word "Charlie" written on them.
13:12 GMT - Cameron, Merkel arrive - David Cameron, Angela Merkel and Benjamin Netanyahu are among world leaders who have arrived at the French Elysee presidential palace, poised to take part in a historic march against terror in the French capital.
The British, German and Israeli leaders were also joined by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, all of whom will march through the French capital in the same demonstration -- a world first.
- World leaders -
12:57 GMT - Coulibaly linked to jogger shooting - French prosecutors have linked the attacker of a Jewish supermarket on Friday to the shooting of a jogger in southern Paris just hours after a massacre by two other gunmen at the Charlie Hebdo weekly.
In a statement the Paris prosecutor's office said there was a link between "the bullets found in Fontenay-aux-Roses" where the jogger was shot and injured, and those from a Russian Tokarev pistol used by Amedy Coulibaly in the supermarket attack.
12:53 GMT - Tens of thousands - Tens of thousands of people have already gathered at the Place de la Republique in central Paris hours before today's march to mark the nation's defiance and sorrow in the face of this week's Islamist attacks.
Nearby roads are also packed as the French capital prepares to march alongside world leaders.
12:15 GMT - WELCOME TO AFP'S LIVE REPORT ON WHAT IS EXPECTED to be a huge march in Paris uniting more than a million people and dozens of world leaders in a historic display of defiance against terrorism and extremism following terror attacks in the French capital.
The leaders of Israel and the Palestinian Authority will be attending the rally to honour 17 victims of the attacks on the offices of the Charlie Hebdo satirical newspaper and a Jewish supermarket.
Under clear blue skies, emotions are running high in the shell-shocked city, with many people from all walks of life in tears as they come together under the banner of freedom of speech and liberty.
Stay with us for updates on all the developments on the ground from our team of reporters in Paris.