Parisians send powerful message that democracy will prevail over tyranny of terror

By John Ray: Diplomatic Correspondent

Today the people of Paris set out to send a powerful message.

That in a democracy, the people will prevail over the tyranny of terror.

They succeeded beyond their expectations.

It has been easily the biggest demonstration here since the second world war.

But a march is only a march.

Deep seated problems remain.

France has been left shocked by the deadly terror attacks last week in which 17 people died. Credit: Reuters
The march was the largest in French history. Credit: Reuters
A child holds up a sign during a tribute to the victims of the shootings. Credit: Reuters

No western country sees more of its own citizens fighting with extremists in Syria and Iraq.

Even France’s formidable security services, as they’ve found to their cost this week, can track every suspect.

And there’s the rise of the far right Front National – their leaders exluded fom the march - but ready to take advantage nevertheless.

And underlying all this, the long standing task of integrating and accepting Europe's largest Muslim community in an avowedly secular state.

But at least tonight, after days of horror, the French have rediscovered something of the spirit that has seen them through so many crises in times past.