About two dozen people waited in line on Jan 23 for the 7 a.m. opening of the Main Street News Stand to buy a copy of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. RoundTable photo

Charlie Hebdo, the French satirical magazine, went on sale without incident on Jan. 23 at the Main Street News Stand, at the corner of Main Street and Chicago Avenue, near the CTA and Metra commuter stations. The few copies were sold within about eight minutes of the store’s 7 a.m. opening.

There were fewer than two dozen standing in line along Main Street waiting for the newsstand to open, but it is not clear how many hoped to purchase a copy of Charlie Hebdo and how many were there for their regular morning newspapers.

Six copies were for sale that day. At least two of those who purchased the magazine said they were not fluent in French, but said they purchased the magazine for what it symbolized.

Manager Eric Ismond told the RoundTable he expects to a “substantially larger quantity” of copies of the magazine, possibly as early as Jan. 30. He said the newsstand carried Charlie Hebdo regularly until 2007, after when it was not distributed in this country, because “apparently it was not much in demand.”

Only four customers were allowed in the store at a time, but the counter area was crowded with media personnel. Nearby but unobtrusive, Police Officer Sofia Syed kept an eye on the activity. She said the Police Department had received no threats but she had been sent there “as a precaution.”

Mary Gavin is the founder of the Evanston RoundTable. After 23 years as its publisher and manager, she helped transition the RoundTable to nonprofit status in 2021. She continues to write, edit, mentor...