The Swiss press, notably in the French-speaking part of the country, gave ample coverage to Sunday’s mass rallies in France following last week’s attack by Islamic militants on French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.
The daily Le Temps, dedicated five pages to the weekend events in Paris, including a huge picture of the crowd assembled in streets of the French capital. In its editorial, the paper describes Paris as the “capital of the free world”.
Impressed by the sheer numbers gathered to pay respects to the slain journalists, it says “The French people, shoulder to shoulder with its allies from around the world, has shown how it can survive.” But the editor-in-chief ends on a more pensive note:
“And what about tomorrow? It will be time to reconsider the education system, the way we live together but also to step up surveillance to face imminent dangers.”
The tabloid Le Matin also extensively covered the weekend events in France and reactions in western Switzerland, with plenty of pictures and witness reports.
“Laugh until you cry, citizen,” says the editorial while the front page shows the demonstrators on a central Paris square and a pun: “Paris, Charlibéré”, which echoes historical undertones from the end of the Second World War of “Paris libéré” (“Paris freed”).
The main German-language dailies also carry the Paris rally on their front pages and report extensively on the day in the streets, the meeting of top international politicians and other aspects, including concerns over a possible rise in anti-Islam movements in Switzerland.
As many papers commented on the events in France on Saturday and Sunday, the Neue Zürcher Zeitung (NZZ) is the only major paper to publish an editorial on Monday.
“A nation stands up,” it goes, noting that France has been showing self-confidence it appeared to have lost and an attitude which shines way beyond the county.
The show of unity and force by top politicians had its flaws, the paper notes, particularly as some leaders from Arab and African countries took part in the rally without exactly being models for democratic governance.
Also, the NZZ points out that France was hardly politically represented, as the leader of the rightwing National Front party was conspicuously left out from the invitation to the mass rally.
Nevertheless, the editorialist concludes, the rally “clearly rejected those forces which have been trying to foment a war of the religions”.