PARIS — The mother of one of two French journalists held hostage in Afghanistan said Wednesday as France marked the first anniversary of their capture that she wants the government to take action to free them.
The portraits of Herve Ghesquiere and Stephane Taponier were projected onto the facade of the Paris City Hall after being briefly shown on the Arc de Triomphe at the top of the Champs-Elysees Avenue.
Arlette Taponier called on her son, a cameraman for France-3, to "be strong. We are with you."
"We cannot allow ourselves to lose hope, but we are losing confidence," she said before a crowd of supporters at City Hall, telling the government "We want something concrete ... We don't want the government to coddle us with optimistic words."
Foreign Minister Michele Alliot-Marie said that securing freedom for TV journalists_ and six other French hostages around the world – is an "absolute priority" of President Nicolas Sarkozy.
On Tuesday, the families viewed a video appeal from their sons to France's government to help get them released. The video has not been released publicly.
A candlelight vigil and other events were planned throughout the day.
Taponier and Ghesquiere were kidnapped Dec. 30, 2009, east of Kabul.