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Hollande, Hallyday attend event in Paris to mark unity amid attacks

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Johnny Hallyday performs with the French army choir during a remembrance rally at Place de la Republique, 10 January 2016 AFP

Several thousand people attended a low-key rally in Paris on Sunday to mark one year since millions of people and world leaders took to the capital’s streets in the face of terrorist attacks on satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo and a Jewish supermarket.


The demonstrations last year, the largest since the Liberation from the Nazis in 1945, followed three days of terror in which 17 people were killed.

Sunday's event was dedicated to all of the victims. French President Francois Hollande unveiled a plaque next to an oak tree planted in the Place de la Republique, while celebrated French singer Johnny Hallyday performed a song which he wrote about the outpouring of solidarity on French streets a year ago, called "Un dimanche de janvier" (One Sunday in January).

The rally wraps up a weekend of events to mark the anniversary, with Hollande unveiling a plaque Saturday to honour the memory of Clarissa Jean-Philippe, a policewoman killed during last year’s attacks. Tributes were also paid to the four hostages killed at the kosher supermarket by the Jewish umbrella group CRIF.

The anniversary Thursday of the Charlie Hebdo attacks was overshadowed by an attacker trying to force his way into a police station in northern Paris armed with a meat cleaver and a fake suicide vest before he was shot dead.

The man, identified as a Tunisian named Tarek Belgacem, shouted "Allahu Akbar" (God is great) before trying to attack an officer, and was found to be carrying a handwritten letter claiming he was acting in the name of the Islamic State armed group.

The thwarted attack has underlined authorities' concerns that there could be yet another terrorist assault in France.

Hollande also made an unannounced visit to the main mosque in Paris on Sunday, as hundreds of French mosques participated in a major open-house event over the weekend.