Thursday 8 December 2016

World's most famous buildings become symbols of solidarity with Paris

Published 15/11/2015 | 05:11

Sydney Opera House is lit in the colours of the French flag (AP)
Sydney Opera House is lit in the colours of the French flag (AP)
Christ the Redeemer statue is lit with the colours of France's flag (AP)
The National Gallery is lit in the colours of the French Tricolor as people gather during a vigil at Trafalgar Square
Belfast City Hall is illuminated with the colours of the French Tricolor as the country stands in solidarity with Paris

Some of the world's most famous buildings went dark in tribute to those killed in the Paris terror attacks, while others were lit in blue, white and red in solidarity with France.

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The Eiffel Tower stood dark in a symbol of mourning as France struggled to absorb the deadliest violence on its soil since the second World War, gun-and-suicide bombing attacks that left at least 129 people dead.

The 116-year-old monument normally is normally lit by scintillating lights every hour on the hour during the evening.

A crowd of up to 250 people gathered for an impromptu candlelight vigil at the Place de La Republique in Paris, the site of a massive demonstration in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo killings earlier this year.

Bernard Chambel, 66, said there is a difference between the attacks on Friday night and the January assault on the Charlie Hebdo newspaper and a Kosher supermarket that killed 17 victims.

He said January "was an attack on Jews, it was an attack on free expression".

This, he said, "was an attack on a way of life - they shot without discrimination".

The Empire State Building in New York City was dark in sympathy for the people of Paris for a second night.

But the 408ft spire on top of One World Trade Centre in the city was lit again in the colours of the French flag, and will remain blue, white and red tonight.

An an arch in Manhattan's Washington Square Park was also illuminated with the French colours overnight.

In Washington DC, a crowd gathered outside the White House for a vigil near a statue of the Marquis de Lafayette, the French general for whom the park in front of the executive mansion is named.

The French ambassador to the US, Gerard Araud, thanked the crowd for coming and led a minute of silence for the victims of the attack.

Antoine Verdeaux, 20, wore the red, white, and blue flag around his shoulders.

"I'm devastated by what happened. It's horrible. It's kind of sick to think that in today's world people can do this to one another," said the college student who was born in Paris and travels there nearly every year.

Berlin's Brandenburg Gate was lit up in the colours of the French flag and hundreds of people gathered on Paris Square, in front of the gate, in a show of solidarity with France.

Flowers and candles were also been placed in front of the nearby French embassy in the German capital.

The hues of the Tricolor, the French flag, also lit the Sydney Opera House in Australia, the Christ the Redeemer statue in Brazil and London's Tower Bridge.

A minute of silence for the victims of the Paris attacks was held ahead of the European Championship football qualifier between Sweden and Denmark.

Both teams stood with their heads bowed as 50,000 fans inside Friends Arena in Solna, Sweden, turned silent. The walls of the stadium were lit up in blue, white and red.

In Rome, officials turned off the lights at the Colosseum and the Trevi Fountain for five minutes in solidarity with the people of Paris.

Around 100 Iranians held a candlelight vigil in front of the French Embassy in Tehran to mourn the victims of the Paris attacks.

The gathering late on Saturday was reported by the Shargh daily, a reformist newspaper. It said some of those gathered had posted hand-written messages of condolence on nearby walls.

Special church services are planned at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris and around France in honour of those killed in the attacks that terrified the country.

Notre Dame, like other Paris sites, is closed to tourists today but will be open to churchgoers coming for services during the day.

A special Mass by Paris Cardinal Andre Vingt-Trois will be held at 6.30pm local time for families of victims and survivors, and the church will ring its renowned bells in a special homage.

In a message to parishioners, the cardinal said: "Our country knows the pain of mourning and must face barbarity propagated by fanatical groups."

Press Association

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