Breathless Parisians on Wednesday chased down copies of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo's first edition since a jihadist attack decimated its editorial staff at one newsstand after the other across the city.
"Are there any Charlies here?" asked one Parisian after the other at newsstands across the city.
Most of them were left disappointed as the first delivery of what Charlie Hebdo has called the "survivors' issue" flew off the shelves in just minutes.
A sign which translates as "Charlie Hebdo - Sold Out - Next deliveries on Thursday, Friday and Saturday" is displayed at a newsagents in Strasbourg on Wednesday as the latest edition of French satirical weekly goes on sale. The first issue of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo to be published since a jihadist attack decimated its editorial staff last week was sold out within minutes at kiosks across France. (AFP Photo)
Catherine Boniface, a 58-year-old 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 of the magazine 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", Pierre and Eric say in unison. "Argh" the girl said, rushing away.
People wait outside a newsagents kiosk in Paris on January 14, 2015 as the latest edition of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo went on sale. The first issue of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo (AFP Photo)
It was a week ago that the satirical magazine, known for lampooning religions and angering Muslims by printing images of the Prophet Mohammed, came under attack.
Two black-clad gunmen 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 died.
Show of support
To 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 total 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."
A sign which translates as "Charlie Hebdo - Sold Out" is displayed outside a newsagents in Dunkirk (AFP Photo)
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.
The new issue features a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammed on its cover, holding a "Je Suis Charlie" sign under the headline "All is forgiven".
"Our Mohammed is above all just a guy who is crying," said cartoonist Luz, who designed the new front cover.
"He is much nicer than the one followed by the gunmen."
It has angered Muslim groups in some countries that oppose depictions of Islam's founder, while the Islamic State group said it was an "extremely stupid" act.
Iran condemned Charlie Hebdo's current issue as "provocative" and said the new cartoon by the weekly is an insult to Islam and the Prophet Muhammad.
Foreign ministry spokesperson Marzieh Afkham said Wednesday's publication of the paper featuring another caricature of the Prophet "provokes the sentiments of Muslims the world over."
Iran has strongly condemned the deadly assault by two masked gunmen that killed 12 people last week, including much of the weekly's editorial staff and two police officers.
A man reads the latest issue of Charlie Hebdo. (AP Photo)
Afkham says last week's attack against the French satirical weekly was against Islam's teaching. But, she says, the latest cartoon is also insulting to the religion.
The Islamic State group's radio on Wednesday described Charlie Hebdo's publication of a new cartoon of the Prophet as an "extremely stupid" act.
"Charlie Hebdo has again published cartoons insulting the prophet and this is an extremely stupid act," said a statement read on Al-Bayan radio, which the jihadist group broadcasts in areas under its control in Syria and Iraq.