Some were not interested in losing their power and corrupt privileges. Others preferred to continue their religious life with a “straw God”.
More than three million people have taken part in unity marches across France after 17 people died during three days of deadly attacks in Paris.
Up to 1.6m are estimated to have taken to the streets of the French capital. More than 40 world leaders joined the start of the Paris march, linking arms in an act of solidarity. The marchers wanted to demonstrate unity after the attacks on satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, police officers, and a kosher supermarket.
"Paris is the capital of the world today," French leader Francois Hollande said.
The rally, led by relatives of the victims of last week's attacks, began at the Place de la Republique and concluded in the Place de la Nation.
Marchers chanted "liberte" ("freedom") and "Charlie", in reference to Charlie Hebdo magazine.
Some waved French flags, cheered, and sang the national anthem.
Several other French cities also held rallies. The interior ministry said turnout across France was at least 3.7 million, including up to 1.6 million in Paris - where sheer numbers made a realistic tally difficult.
About 2,000 police officers and 1,350 soldiers - including elite marksmen on rooftops - were deployed in the capital to protect participants.
World leaders, including British Prime Minister David Cameron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, EU President Donald Tusk, and Jordan's King Abdullah II joined the beginning of the Paris march.
They observed a minute's silence before the march began.