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Canada Canadians queue for scarce copies of Charlie Hebdo

Crowds at the International News store on Front St. East in Toronto waiting for copies of the Charlie Hebdo weekly were left disappointed when the news store didn't receive any copies of the French satirical newspaper in their daily delivery on Jan 16 2015.

About 100 people who lined up outside a Montreal store on Friday morning hoping to pick up a copy of Charlie Hebdo were left disappointed when fewer than expected were delivered.

A downtown outlet of the Maison de la Presse Internationale was expected to receive 40 copies of the French satirical magazine but an employee initially said only five arrived.

Sorey Chum told The Canadian Press the copies were to be kept for "his bosses."

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A few hours later, Chum said the store had found another 20 copies of the issue, which is the first one produced since a pair of Islamic extremists opened fire at the magazine's Paris offices, killing 12 people.

Some of the people in the Montreal lineup were upset at the scarcity of the newspaper.

"They were expecting 40 copies and they only got five – just the regular weekly delivery," a frustrated Nicole Desormeaux said before news of the extra 20 copies surfaced.

"I don't know what to say. … I'm going home. I've been here since 7 o'clock this morning and it's now 10:30.

"It cost me $10 for parking. I was 32 among the first 40 people and then they told us they received only five copies. … I'm very, very disappointed."

Desormeaux said she really wanted a copy because "it's a page of history."

The magazine's Canadian distributor said there wouldn't be anywhere near enough to meet demand across the country.

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LMPI said 1,500 copies would be available in 135 Canadian stores.

While the vast majority of the copies were to be carried by Quebec retailers, the magazine was also to be available at a handful of stores in British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.

Some stores said their limited number of copies were already spoken for by people who reserved them ahead of time.

In Toronto, the manager of a Gateway newsstand said all the copies he expected to receive were already presold. But Nirmaljit Singh Chadha found out at the last minute he wouldn't get as many as promised, meaning he would have to give some customers refunds.

"Demand is like crazy – crazy," he said. "Our phone is non-stop all week, people want more than one copy. We're getting calls from all over Canada, we're getting calls from the USA. We got a call from Paris, that they can't find a copy there.

"It's a collector's item. I'm sure people don't know what they're buying or why they're buying until they read it."

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Charlie Hebdo also made the issue available through its iPhone and Android apps. It is on sale for $3.49 through the Apple App Store and $4.24 through Google Play.

The cover shows a caricature of the Prophet Mohammed weeping and holding a sign reading "I Am Charlie" with the words "All Is Forgiven" above him.

Customers lined up again in Paris on Thursday to try to get copies. Even though it had a special increased print run of five million copies, it sold out before dawn for a second straight day.

Some Muslims, who believe their faith forbids depictions of Muhammad, reacted with dismay or anger at the new cover. In Pakistan, lawmakers marched outside parliament on Thursday to protest against the publication.

A leader of Yemen's al-Qaeda branch officially claimed responsibility for the attacks at Charlie Hebdo, saying in a video the slayings were in "vengeance for the prophet." But U.S. and French intelligence officials lean toward an assessment that the Paris terror attacks were inspired by al-Qaeda but not directly supervised by the group.

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