Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, Mali’s President, Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, Germany’s Chancellor, Angela Merkel, European Council President, Donald Tusk, Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, Italy’s Prime Minister, Matteo Renzi and Switzerland’s President Simonetta Sommaruga who were all at the forefront of the procession linked arms as they marched.
Commentators said the last time a huge crowd of such size filled the streets of the capital was at the Liberation of Paris from Nazi Germany in 1944.
Tight security measures were in place with some 2,200 police and soldiers on patrol in Paris to protect marchers from would-be attackers, with police snipers on rooftops and plain-clothes detectives mingling with the crowd.
Thousands of people showed their solidarity waving flags of France as well as several other countries, throughout the march which kicked off at central Place de la Republique.
After world leaders left the march, Hollande stayed to greet survivors of the Charlie Hebdo attack and their families, while hundreds of thousands of people marched slowly and in near-total silence through Paris streets.