Marching against Islamists, 40,000 angry Germans take to the streets in growing backlash after Charlie Hebdo massacre

Snug in her bright woolly hat and fur-lined pink boots, the three-year-old girl was perched on her father’s shoulders last night, waving a German flag. Her older brother, aged six, stood proudly beside them.

The children were far too young to understand why they had journeyed four miles from their home, in the suburbs of Dresden, to be among this vast crowd on a chilly winter’s evening.

They had no idea why so many people were holding black placards bearing white crosses and strange French names, and slogans such as: ‘Yesterday Paris, tomorrow Berlin!’ Nor why they had to be silent for a full minute as a mark of respect for innocent people who had died.