Within hours the image had gone viral on social media with more than 50,000 retweets and close to 22,000 favourites by 8am.
"It just hit a nerve"
Cathy Wilcox says political cartooning is a very big part of French life .
"Those line-crossing sorts of drawings - be it because they are sexually risque or politically close to the bone - the French are really proud of that history of freedom of expression.
"They publish stuff that would make us blush and make us look like a very conservative country with our notion of what is acceptable," she said.
She said the Charlie Hebdo magazine had a strong underlying principle of freedom of speech.
Cathy Wilcox, political cartoonist with Fairfax newspaper The Sydney Morning Herald
On 7 January 2015, at approximately 11:30 CET (10:30 UTC), three masked gunmen armed with Kalashnikov rifles, a shotgun, and a rocket-propelled grenade launcher stormed the headquarters of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris. They shot and killed 12 people, including Charlie Hebdo staff and two French National police officers, and wounded 11 others.
The gunmen entered the building and began shooting with automatic weapons, while shouting "Allahu Akbar". Up to 50 shots were fired during the attack. Following a massive manhunt, the French police believe they have located the attackers and are mounting an operation against them.
The incident is France's deadliest act of terrorism since 18 June 1961, when 28 people died in a train bombing. ~ Charlie Hebdo shooting
Ten thousand singing, chanting, passionate Parisians have crammed into the square that symbolises their freedom, only blocks away from the offices of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo where terrorists killed journalists and police officers only hours earlier.
The spontaneous demonstration swelled as the sun set over the Place de la Republique. Young and old crushed into the central city space, jamming traffic.