Over a hundred University of Bath students have gathered on campus in a show of solidarity with the victims of last week’s terrorist attacks in Paris.
Around 150 students, including many of the University’s French community, stood together in a moments silence by the lake.
The event coincides with ‘unity marches’ across the world, with hundreds of thousands expected to congregate in Paris.
The attack left seventeen dead, including ten journalists and cartoonists from the controversial satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo, who in the past have been threatened for reproducing drawings of the Muslim prophet Mohammed.
The murders have been recognised by many as an attack on freedom of speech, which has inspired a solidarity movement under the banner of #JeSuisCharlie.
Event organisers, Sixtine Traniė and Gabriel Jabes, expressed gratitude to the crowd, claiming that although the attacks “targeted the core value of freedom of speech”, the turnout demonstrated “that so many still value those ideas”
“Only through solidarity can we defeat those who try to silence speech”, they went on to say.
Students assembled, many dressed in black clutching pens, which have become a symbol of the #JeSuisCharlie movement, in the bitterly cold amphitheater as some of their colleagues shared their thoughts.
Michael Kenning, a second-year computer science undergraduate, passionately relayed the tribulations still facing those fighting for the freedom of speech.
“People should be able to write, draw or comment on whatever they damn well please,” he said.
The poem Liberté, by French poet Paul Eluard, was then read to the crowd by Charles Lazare and Emmanuel Poggie.
Also in attendance was Bill Durodie, Professor and Chair of International at University of Bath, who on Wednesday wrote for The Conversation that “freedom of expression is absolute or it is nothing at all”.
The bathimpact editorial team wrote today that “we should not allow ourselves to cower or sacrifice speech at the behest of a few.”
Photo credits to Caleb Wheeler-Robinson.