Belfast Telegraph

Readers hoping to land prize edition of Charlie Hebdo as mag sells out in Paris

By Nevin Farrell

A newsagent in Northern Ireland has revealed how customers have placed advance orders for the controversial 'Survivors' Edition' of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.

Five million copies are now being produced - up from three million planned and more than 80 times the usual print run. They hit Paris kiosks a week after Islamist gunmen stormed the irreverent newspaper's Paris offices and murdered 12 people, including Charlie Hebdo's core staff.

It was the first act in three days of bloodshed around Paris that left 17 victims dead.

The attacks ended last Friday when security forces killed both gunmen and an accomplice who separately seized hostages at a kosher grocery.

The new edition of Charlie Hebdo has angered some Muslims by depicting the Prophet Mohammed on its cover again - the reason the terrorists gave for their attack.

A Co Antrim newsagent, who does not wish to be named, said 10 customers have asked for a copy of the magazine.

He was speaking after major stationer Eason confirmed yesterday to the Belfast Telegraph it would not be stocking Charlie Hebdo in Northern Ireland.

Previously, customers of the Eason Newtownabbey store had been told it would be stocking the magazine - but an Eason spokesman said: "Eason has never stocked the French magazine Charlie Hebdo and has no plans to in the future."

Newsagent chain WH Smith - which has Northern Ireland outlets - also said it was not stocking the magazine.

The defiant new issue sold out before dawn around Paris, with scuffles at kiosks over dwindling copies of the satirical weekly. After the weekly sold out, kiosk operators told people to return today for a second run.

One news stand near the Champs Elysees opened at 6am and was sold out in five minutes. Another, near Saint-Lazare, reported fisticuffs among customers.

Defending his caricature of Mohammed on the paper's latest cover, Charlie Hebdo cartoonist Renald Luzier argued that no exceptions should be made when it comes to the freedom of expression. He said when the weekly was threatened in the past, the reaction was often: "Yes, but you shouldn't do that (publish cartoons of Mohammed). Yes, but you deserved that."

"There should be no more 'Yes, but'," he insisted.

People throughout the UK who wish to buy a special English-language edition of the magazine have faced delays after copies were held up by bad weather.

The number of copies that will be on sale in the UK is not yet known, although it is reckoned to be at least 1,000. Wholesalers Smiths News, Comag and Menzies Distribution are distributing it.

One local newsagent hoping to sell Charlie Hebdo this week said a consignment is expected today.

There have been delivery problems to newsagents in Northern Ireland after a ferry was unable to sail. "If the weather continues to be bad, and high winds are predicted, we might not get Charlie Hebdo," he said.

"Because of everything that has happened it is going to be a collector's item."

The French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo normally sells around 60,000 copies.

This week, its publisher initially issued a print run of three million copies before boosting that to five million after an overwhelming public response saw it sell out in France. This week's publication has been called the 'Survivors' Edition' and marks the first since 12 people were gunned down at its Paris office. Controversially, it features an image of the Prophet Mohammed weeping while holding a sign saying "I am Charlie".

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