Saturday 1 October 2016

Anger begins to replace hurt in Cote d'Azur

Alan O'Keefe

Published 19/07/2016 | 02:30

A general view shows the crowd gathering on the Promenade des Anglais during a minute of silence. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard
A general view shows the crowd gathering on the Promenade des Anglais during a minute of silence. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard
Soldiers from the French Foreign Legion patrol on the Promenade des Anglais on the third day of national mourning to pay tribute to victims of the truck attack on Bastille Day. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard
French Prime Minister Manuel Valls is flanked by security as he is jeered by the crowd
A woman writes a message of tribute to the victims of the truck attack. REUTERS/Jean-Pierre Amet
People gather near tributes placed at a makeshift memorial near the Promenade des Anglais in Nice. AFP/Getty Images
French soldiers patrol along the seafront. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)

"We will never be the same again," said Nice restaurateur Anne-Laure Rubi as she described the impact of the promenade massacre on the community.

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She attended a public ceremony yesterday along with thousands of Nice residents to remember the 84 dead.

Soldiers from the French Foreign Legion patrol on the Promenade des Anglais on the third day of national mourning to pay tribute to victims of the truck attack on Bastille Day. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard
Soldiers from the French Foreign Legion patrol on the Promenade des Anglais on the third day of national mourning to pay tribute to victims of the truck attack on Bastille Day. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard

The booing of the French prime minister by some of the crowd showed that there is still much anger, she said.

It was the final day of the three days of national mourning in France.

"I feel the life is gone from our community after what happened," said Madame Rubi, owner of La Petite Maison.

The businesswoman was quoted extensively after media reports that U2's Bono and other diners were ushered from her restaurant by police after the truck mowed down revellers on Bastille Day.

She said: "We really love Mister Bono. He has come into our restaurant several times. But, of course, today is only about there being so many dead."

Mme Rubi confirmed that Bono and other diners hastily left the restaurant terrace to take refuge inside the building until the police came and escorted everyone to safety.

She was very concerned about the safety of everyone in the restaurant that night, including her own mother.

Referring to the people of France and Nice, she said: "The people are very hurt by this attack. But we are doing what we can and people are coming together. Strangers are talking to each other."

People gather near tributes placed at a makeshift memorial near the Promenade des Anglais in Nice. AFP/Getty Images
People gather near tributes placed at a makeshift memorial near the Promenade des Anglais in Nice. AFP/Getty Images

The anger being felt by the people was shown by some who jeered Prime Minister Manuel Valls when he arrived at the public ceremony on the Promenade des Anglais yesterday.

"First Paris and now Nice," she said, referring to the mass killings carried out in recent months. Some people blame politicians for not doing more to prevent such massacres.

Mme Rubi indicated that some of those jeering the prime minister were accusing him of being like "a murderer" for failing to prevent the latest killings.

The booing took place as the prime minister took his place at the ceremony. He was in the company of Nice's mayor, Phillippe Pradal, and former mayor, Christian Estrosi, as well as several local religious and municipal leaders.

A woman writes a message of tribute to the victims of the truck attack. REUTERS/Jean-Pierre Amet
A woman writes a message of tribute to the victims of the truck attack. REUTERS/Jean-Pierre Amet

However, those who booed and jeered were loudly criticised by others who expressed exasperation that people would bring politics to a sombre ceremony of remembrance.

Watch: VIDEO: French PM booed as Nice remembers victims with minute's silence

Some women held up placards criticising President Francois Hollande and former president Nicolas Sarkozy. A furious man in the crowd turned around to face the protesters and shouted: "Silence! Respectez les morts" (respect the dead).

A man retorted: "C'est la démocratie" (It's democracy).

A crowd of several thousand filled the promenade where the killings took place. The atmosphere for most of the ceremony was widely respectful.

Enthusiastic applause greeted the members of the emergency services and police who had been on duty of the night of the massacre.

Large bouquets of flowers were laid on the promenade by politicians and civic leaders wearing sashes of red, white and blue,and of yellow and red.

Public statues along the promenade also had black sashes tied around their stone torsos.

Public buildings remained closed throughout the day, including libraries and art galleries.

A boy clutching a skateboard near the main art gallery said the council had even closed down the local skateboard park.

Taxis drove around the streets with black ribbons on their roof signs.

All around the city, the bars and cafes were doing a brisk business with the large numbers of summertime holidaymakers. All the outdoor tables at Ma Nolan's Irish bar were filled with customers throughout the afternoon.

Armed soldiers in combat fatigues patrolled the footpaths, along with large numbers of policemen and policewomen carrying a variety of weaponry.

The city, a jewel of the Mediterranean, was seeking to return to normal but the scars will remain for a very long time to come.

Irish Independent

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