French hostage crisis: #JeSuisCharlie tweeted more than five million times

A woman holds up s "Je Suis Charlie" placard at a vigil outside The French Institute in London on January 9, 2015. Twitter users have posted the #JeSuisCharlie hashtag, a sign of solidarity with the victims of the Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris, more
A woman holds up s "Je Suis Charlie" placard at a vigil outside The French Institute in London on January 9, 2015. Twitter users have posted the #JeSuisCharlie hashtag, a sign of solidarity with the victims of the Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris, more than 5 million times. --PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON (AFP) - Twitter users have posted the #JeSuisCharlie hashtag, a sign of solidarity with the victims of the Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris, more than 5 million times, Twitter France said on Friday.

The symbolic five-million mark, an unprecedented number in the history of France-related hashtags, was reached after elite forces killed the brothers suspected of the massacre and a militant ally in a dramatic finale to three blood-soaked days.

The hashtag had been tweeted 5,044,740 times by 5.00 pm (2200 GMT) on Friday, with a peak of 6,300 tweets per minute.

The number still trails far behind the more than 18,136,000 times #Ferguson was tweeted in the aftermath of a fatal shooting of a young black American by a white police officer in the Missouri town - the most tweeted hashtag of 2014.

On Friday, the heavily-armed Charlie Hebdo massacre suspects were cornered in a tiny town northeast of Paris while an ally took terrified shoppers hostage in a Jewish supermarket, where four died and seven were hurt including three police officers.

The Charlie Hebdo gunmen had kept France gripped with fear since they slaughtered 12 people on Wednesday in the offices of the satirical magazine.