New Charlie Hebdo Magazine to Sell Record 5 Million Copies

Deadly Paris attacks spark unprecedented support - and sales - for magazine, as another satirical publication receives death threats.

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Refusing to be cowed, Charlie Hebdo's latest magazine again features picture of Mohammed
Refusing to be cowed, Charlie Hebdo's latest magazine again features picture of Mohammed

"Are there any Charlies here?" asked one breathless Parisian after the other at newsstands across the city Wednesday as they chased down copies of the satirical magazine's first edition since a jihadist attack decimated its editorial staff.

In the capital and around the country, most were left disappointed as the first delivery of what Charlie Hebdo has called the "survivors' issue" flew off the shelves in just minutes.

Catherine Boniface, 58, a doctor, tried several kiosks by the time she arrived at one in eastern Paris where the vendor said he had sold out all 150 copies within 10 minutes.

"I am a little disappointed. This issue is symbolic, it represents their persistence, they didn't yield in the face of" terror, said Boniface, who is not a regular reader of the weekly.

Researcher Pierre Asselin and his actor friend Eric gave up after their third attempt.

"We will try again tomorrow," said Asselin, as a girl rushing past to the metro station interrupted and asked: "Are there any Charlies here?"

"No", chimed Pierre and Eric. "Argh," the girl responded, rushing away.  

On Twitter the hashtag #JaiMonCharlie (I have my Charlie) was trending in France for those lucky enough to get their hands on a copy.

And on eBay copies of the edition were being sold for thousands of euros, with one vendor offering his for 15,000 euros ($17,680).

Paris-based media watchdog group Reporters Without Borders (Reporters Sans Frontieres) slammed the apparent opportunism as "absolutely indecent."

But secretary general Christophe Deloire said the rush for the magazine showed that "the assassins totally failed" in their efforts to kill Charlie Hebdo.

It was exactly a week ago that the satirical magazine, known for lampooning religions and angering Muslims by printing images of the founder of Islam Mohammed, came under attack.

Two black-clad terrorists wielding Kalashnikovs burst into Charlie Hebdo's editorial meeting at its Paris offices, spraying bullets in an attack that left a total of 12 people dead.

It was the start of three days of terror that gripped Paris as police hunted the gunmen, and an accomplice to the killers emerged, gunning down a policewoman before taking hostages at a Jewish supermarket where another four people were killed. 

The magazine has been published in several countries outside France, and also flew off the shelves in Italy.

'A way to show support'

Charlie Hebdo, which lampoons everyone from the president to the pope, has become a symbol of freedom of expression in the wake of the bloodshed.   

Proceeds from the new edition will go to victims' families.

o many French people, like teacher Jan Stragier, 33, buying the magazine is "a way to show support, it is a historical edition."  

The weekly, which was struggling to sell its 60,000 copies a week ago, has launched an extended print run that will eventually reach five million copies.  

"It was incredible. I had a queue of 60-70 people waiting for me when I opened," said a woman working at a newspaper kiosk in Paris.

"I've never seen anything like it."

The new issue features a cartoon of Mohammed on its cover, holding a "Je Suis Charlie" sign under the headline "All is forgiven".

It has angered Muslim groups in some countries that oppose depictions of Islam's founder, while the Islamic State terror group (ISIS) said it was an "extremely stupid" act.  

Charlie Hebdo's surviving staff moved into the offices of Liberation newspaper to compile the issue, which they admitted had been an emotional experience.

Cartoonist Renald "Luz" Luzier said he cried after drawing the front cover.

Explaining the new front cover drawn in memory of his slain colleagues, who were some of France's best-known cartoonists, Luz said Tuesday: "Our Mohammed is above all just a guy who is crying.

"He is much nicer than the one (worshipped) by the gunmen."

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said Tuesday the country was now engaged in a "war on terrorism", but stressed that Muslims would always have a home in France.

"I don't want Jews in this country to be scared, or Muslims to be ashamed" of their faith, he said in a thunderous performance that drew several standing ovations.

He admitted France's intelligence capabilities and anti-terrorism laws needed to be strengthened and "clear failings" addressed.

Questions have risen over how the three gunmen - known to French intelligence and on a US terror watch list "for years" - had slipped through the cracks.

France, home to Europe's largest Jewish and Muslim communities, was shaken to the core by its worst terrorist attacks for decades.

On Tuesday, President Francois Hollande led a solemn ceremony paying tribute to the three police officers who lost their lives during the three days of violence in which 17 people died.

In Israel, thousands sands turned out to mourn the four Jews killed during the siege in the kosher store on Friday.

Hollande said "France will never break, will never yield, never bend" in the face of the Islamist threat that is "still there, inside and outside" the country.

A version of the new edition will be published in predominantly Muslim Turkey as an inset in the centre-left opposition daily Cumhuriyet, one of the paper's journalists said.

Underlining the ongoing threat, France's biggest satirical weekly, "Le Canard Enchaine", said it received a death threat the day after the Charlie Hebdo attack.

The attacks have sent shockwaves through Europe and beyond, and France has deployed armed police to guard synagogues and Jewish schools and called up 10,000 troops to guard against other attacks.

US Secretary of State John Kerry will meet with French President Francois Hollande on Friday to discuss the attacks. The US did not send a senior official to the historic march against extremism on Sunday, which the White House has admitted was a mistake.

German President Joachim Gauck told his country's Muslim community Tuesday that "we are all Germany" at a rally by 10,000 people to condemn the Paris jihadist attacks and take a stand against "Islamophobia."

Meanwhile European Union counter-terrorism chief Gilles de Kerchove has warned that jails have become "massive incubators" of radicalization and there was no way to fully rule out such attacks.

Coulibaly, a repeat offender, met Cherif Kouachi in prison where they both fell under the spell of a renowned jihadist.  

While the Kouachis have been linked to the Yemen-based Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), Coulibaly claimed to have sworn allegiance to the Islamic State.

Michelle Meunier, 71 was one of the few who got her hands on the latest edition in its first print run of 700,000 copies.

"It isn't about luck. You need to wake up early and not stay warm in your bed," she said.  

New copies are expected to reach newsstands across France in the coming days.

Anne, 45, was also left empty handed, but says she is not too disappointed.

"I am happy, it means it is successful," she said.

AFP contributed to this report.