Saturday 10 December 2016

Paris Terror Attacks: French capital observes one minute's silence as world mourns

Ryan Hooper

Published 16/11/2015 | 11:41

(L-R) French Education Minister Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, French President Francois Hollande and French Prime Minister Manuel Valls observe a minute of silence at the Sorbonne University in Paris to pay tribute to victims of Friday's Paris attacks
(L-R) French Education Minister Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, French President Francois Hollande and French Prime Minister Manuel Valls observe a minute of silence at the Sorbonne University in Paris to pay tribute to victims of Friday's Paris attacks
Mosque President Maqbool Rasul (second left) with Scotland First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Mosque Secretary Nabeel Sheikh (fourth left) as they observe a minute's silence at the Central Mosque in Glasgow to mark the victims of Friday's attacks in Paris
People in Trafalgar Square, London, during a minute's silence across Europe to mark the victims of Friday's attacks in the French capital
People in Trafalgar Square, London, during a minute's silence across Europe to mark the victims of Friday's attacks in the French capital

Paris paused - and the world joined with her - as mourners paid their respects to victims of Friday's terrorist attacks.

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Hundreds of people gathered around the Place de la Republique - the unofficial focal point for tributes and vigils, a short distance from the sites of three of the shootings - ready for the minute's silence at noon local time (11am GMT).

With no official declaration to mark the start of the silence, it fell to members of the densely packed crowd gathered around the square to simply fall silent.

Heads bowed, some in solemn contemplation and some to hide tears, mourners reflected on the events which sent shock waves around the world.

The silence was broken with a lone voice singing the French national anthem, and they were soon joined by the rest of the crowd as the La Marseillais rang out.

The singing was controlled - but the message was clear. It was followed by a long round of applause, as others broke off to console loved ones and embrace friends.

People of all ages had spent the morning filtering in to the Place de la Republique, one of the largest squares in France's capital, in advance of the minute's silence.

The square, though unaffected by Friday's gunfire, has become bedecked with an array of tributes.

Candles and handwritten tributes, carrying messages of hope and peace, have been gradually building on the bronze Marianne statue in the centre of the square.

A brisk wind whipping around the monument shortly before noon meant some papers were flung into the air and dumped elsewhere, while those candles which had not already been extinguished battled to remain alight.

One mourner was forced to step on to the statue's plinth to help put out a fire after a piece of paper caught alight on a naked flame.

Others placed tributes at a temporary wall at the edge of the square, while artists scrawled messages and names on the pavement.

As silence fell across the square, workers in nearby buildings could be seen standing on balconies and pausing to reflect.

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