Tuesday 17 September 2019

Paris Terror Attacks: Thousands on Dublin streets show defiance

6,000 march in Dublin Parisians tell of horror Muslims condemn Isil

Sonia Leon pictured at the Solidarity with Paris march through Dublin city centre
Sonia Leon pictured at the Solidarity with Paris march through Dublin city centre
Juliette Charton from Paris pictured at the Solidarity with Paris march through Dublin city centre

Claire Mc Cormack, Allison Bray, Maeve Sheehan, Rachel Lavin and Eimer Rabbitt

United in solidarity and sadness, more than 6,000 French and Irish citizens thronged the centre of Dublin yesterday.

With the French tricolour draped across their shoulders they clutched flowers and candles, under the Spire on O'Connell Street in memory of the victims of the Paris attacks.

The march had been organised by Juliette Charton, 21, a French au pair from Paris who is living in Dublin.

"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," said Juliette. "They're all very scared, they don't want to come out or be in the street."

With the words 'not afraid' painted across her cheeks, Suzan Bodin, 21 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 are not afraid."

Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin condemned the Paris terrorist attacks as "an extraordinary example of brutal inhumanity" and called on political leaders to renew efforts to resolve the migrant crisis.

Archbishop Martin, who described the attacks as an "horrific example of what happens when religion is distorted for ideological reasons", said that church leaders must continue to fight against fundamentalism.

Hundreds of people turned out at Dublin's Pro-Cathedral yesterday, where the Archbishop opened a book of condolence and led a special Mass to pray for those who died and for loved ones left.

As French visitors arrived in Dublin Airport from Paris yesterday, they were defiant that terrorism would not destroy their way of life.

Parisian Pauline Soudanne described the horror that unfolded at le Petit Cambodge next to her flat in the trendy 10th district in Paris, when a terrorist brandishing a Kalashnikov opened fire at patrons enjoying a meal, killing 14 people.

Ms Soudanne, 29, was working at home, oblivious to the mayhem taking place outside, when a flood of texts lit up her phone from concerned friends who feared she was among those who had just been slaughtered at the popular Cambodian restaurant located just yards from her home.

It was the killers' first stop in a bloody rampage in the neighbouring 10th and 11th arrondissements that would leave dozens of innocent people out for an after-work drink or meal dead.

She ran outside to find utter carnage at the 'bobo' restaurant, popular with young, upmarket professionals who typically pack the small restaurant and outdoor patio overlooking Canal Saint Martin on Friday nights.

Except this was just like a scene from a warzone, she told the Sunday Independent.

"I don't know war, but I think it's something like this," she said. "All night long, there was lots of noise, lots of policemen, a huge tension on the street."

But other French citizens who arrived on flights from Paris at Dublin Airport yesterday said they were still shaken from the horror they had fled less than 24 hours earlier.

Nicolas Jenneau, 25, who lives just outside Paris, said the atmosphere in the capital was surreal as news of the atrocities began to sink in yesterday.

"It was very strange. Everyone is shocked and afraid," he said. But despite the state of emergency, people were still going about their lives, even as Paris remained eerily quiet and in lockdown mode.

"All activities are off. Everything is closed," said Mr Jenneau.

Other travellers spoke of extremely tight security and tension at both Beauvais and Charles de Gaulle airports. About 50 passengers who were due to fly to Dublin on an Aer Lingus flight from Charles de Gaulle yesterday morning reportedly didn't make the flight, possibly out of fear of further attacks, an airport source told the Sunday Independent.

Some Paris-bound passengers also changed their plans at the last minute out of fear of further attacks.

The Department of Foreign Affairs, meanwhile, is urging Irish citizens in Paris to exercise extreme caution in the days to come, following the Islamist attacks.

The French ambassador to Ireland has welcomed the enormous solidarity expressed by the Irish people in the wake of the terrorist attacks on Paris.

Jean-Pierre Thébault said messages of support had been flooding in since the devastating atrocities unfolded in the French capital on Friday night.

The Ambassador said he was at the Abbey Theatre on Friday night when he got a call from a member of his family who lives beside the Bataclan.

"It was very early, before it had been on the news, and he said that there had been a horrendous attack just beside and he saw bodies, he heard noises, automatic guns.

"So this is what announced it for us. Very quickly the news spread,"

Muslim leaders in Ireland have condemned the Paris terror attacks as an insult to Islam and Irish Muslim communities are standing in solidarity with the victims and their families.

However, concerns over a rise in 'Islamophobia' following the six co-ordinated gun attacks and suicide bombings that killed 128 people and seriously wounded 352 others, have emerged.

Trinity College's Dr Ali Selim, one of the most senior Muslim clerics in Ireland said: "I definitely condemn what happened and classify it as an atrocity that cannot be justified under any circumstances."

Sunday Independent

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