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Hollande for free expression, against anti-Charlie protests

François Hollande addressing the diplomatic service, le 16 janvier 2015.
François Hollande addressing the diplomatic service, le 16 janvier 2015. REUTERS/Jacques Brinon/Pool

In the central French city of Tulle today, French president Francois Hollande opposed Friday's protests across many Muslim-majority countries in response to Charlie Hebdo.

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The demonstrations were in reaction to the new cover of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, which depicts a crying Prophet Muhammad holding a sign that reads "Je suis Charlie".

Some of the protests taking place across the Middle East and in many African countries turned violent; notably in Niger and Pakistan.

Click for RFI reports of the Charlie Hebdo killings

“I’m thinking of countries where sometimes they don’t understand what freedom of expression is because they have been deprived of it. But also, we have supported these countries in their fight against terrorism” said Hollande.

The French president also stressed that freedom of expression was particularly important to the country’s core values.

Charlie Hebdo has sold 1.9 million copies of its latest issue since publication on Wednesday, with France’s 27,000 news outlets selling out in just hours.

It is the magazine's first edition since an attack in its Paris offices claimed by Al-Qaeda left 12 dead on January 7.

A total of seven million copies of the issue will be printed, up from the five million originally planned.

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