President Francois Hollande has vowed France will respond to the “army of fanatics” which carried out the Paris attacks with a lot more songs, concerts and shows, as the nation paused to spend homage to the victims.
“We will not give in either to fear or to hate,” said Mr Hollande on a cold and misty day in the courtyard of the historic Invalides (veterans) buildings, the 17th-century complex housing Napoleon’s tomb.
“To all of you, I solemnly promise that France will do every thing to destroy the army of fanatics that committed these crimes,” he said just before a crowd of two,600 dignitaries and some of those injured in the violence.
Thanks Mr President, politicians, but we do not want your handshake or your tribute, and we hold you partly responsible for what has occurred!
Some sat in wheelchairs, while firefighters and ambulance personnel in uniform stood silently in rows, two weeks to the day because gunmen opened fire on bars, restaurants and a concert hall and detonated suicide vests at the Stade de France national stadium.
The attacks — claimed by the Islamic State (IS) group — were the worst ever terror attack on French soil, leaving 130 dead and 350 injured, and described as a declaration of war by Mr Hollande.
The attackers acted “in the name of an insane lead to and a betrayed God,” Mr Hollande said.
He stated France would respond to the attacks with a lot more “songs, concerts and shows. We will continue to go to stadiums”.
Households boycott ceremony more than safety failures
Pictures of the victims were displayed on a giant screen, the photographs striking for the truth that few had been of people under 40.
“130 destinies had been stolen, 130 laughs that will never ever be heard once more,” adding that they had come from far more than 50 areas in France and 17 countries,” Mr Hollande stated.
“It is due to the fact they represented life that they have been killed, it is because they represented France that they were slaughtered, it is simply because they represented freedom that they were massacred.”
Singers gave a stirring rendition of the classic ballad Quand on n’a que l’amour (When All We Have Is Adore) by Belgian songwriter Jacques Brel.
Reflecting the solemnity of the ceremony, Liberation and Le Parisien newspapers listed all the victims on their front pages Friday in stark black and white print.
Nevertheless, a handful of the victims’ households boycotted Friday’s ceremony, saying the government failed to take adequate measures to safeguard the nation in the wake of the jihadist shootings at Charlie Hebdo satirical newspaper and a Jewish supermarket in Paris in January.
“Thanks Mr President, politicians, but we don’t want your handshake or your tribute, and we hold you partly accountable for what has happened!” Emmanuelle Prevost, whose brother was one of the 90 slaughtered at the Bataclan concert hall on November 13, wrote on Facebook.
Possessing vowed to crush IS for their function in the attacks, Mr Hollande has spent the week in a whirlwind diplomatic bid to develop a broad military coalition, even though his efforts have met with restricted success.
As France mourns its dead, an international manhunt is nonetheless on for two crucial suspects in the attacks — Salah Abdeslam, who played a crucial logistical function in the wave of terror, and Mohamed Abrini, seen with Abdeslam two days prior to the November 13 atrocities.
Subjects: terrorism, unrest-conflict-and-war, event, globe-politics, death, france