With the french flag draped across their shoulders, clutching flowers and candles members of the French community in Ireland gathered under the Spire on O’Connell Street on Saturday afternoon to lead a march for the victims of the Paris attacks.
The march was initially organised late on Friday night on social media by Juliette Charton, 21, a french au pair from Paris who is living in Dublin. However, support for the march quickly grew and, with the assistance of the French Ambassador and An Gardai Siochana, thousands of people came to pay their respects and show solidarity with the people of France.
“I organised this last night because it’s difficult to be in a different country and to hear about your family and friends who are still in danger in Paris,” says Juliette. “They’re all very scared they don’t want to come out or be in the street. I think it was a good way to give some support to them and to say that we are thinking about them, the victims and their families.”
With the words ‘not afraid’ painted across her cheeks, Suzan Bodin, 21 who is originally from the South of France held back tears as she said “That’s what the terrorists want, that we are afraid, they want us to become alone and just think about fear and not have peace or love but I don’t want to give them that, We will live and live again and go out again and again, never stop living. We are not afraid.”
Hugh O’Conor, 19, a student from Trinity College says he came “to show solidarity with France and in fact, the people of Beirut and Lebanon as well as on Thursday 41 innocent civilians were killed there. It’s for victims of Daesch to know we’re united and we’ll stand beside them.”
Noel Canty, 68 from Clontarf, who has worked for french television said he came ‘in solidarity’. “I was actually outside that theatre the last time I was in Paris. I think we should show solidarity with France and the country. We could be a bit better, I don’t think the Irish people realise how serious it is to see a huge city like Paris attacked in this manner.”
Henry Leperlien, the elected representative to the french in Ireland for France’s Socialist Party lead the front of the march that culminated at Leinster House.
“This is absolutely awful,” he said. “A lot of Irish and French people have come together and everybody feels extremely sad. We must stand together, we cannot yield in front of terrorism.”
Early estimates suggest at least 6000 people were present.