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Paris marks attacks with quiet tributes, memorial garden plans

Wreath and flowers have been laid by a commemorative plaque set outside the Bataclan concert venue during ceremonies across Paris marking the fourth anniversary of the terror attacks of November, 2015.
Wreath and flowers have been laid by a commemorative plaque set outside the Bataclan concert venue during ceremonies across Paris marking the fourth anniversary of the terror attacks of November, 2015. STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN / AFP

Paris commemorated the fourth anniversary of terrorist attacks that killed 130 people with a series of sober tributes – led by Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo and Interior Minister Christophe Castaner – along with the promise of a remembrance garden.

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Ceremonies began in the northern suburb of Saint-Denis, where representatives of victims’ associations and the local mayor laid wreaths beside a plaque in memory of Manuel Dias, the sole person killed when a bomb went off near the Stade de France on 13 November, 2015.

A minute’s silence was observed before the procession of ministers, officials and other figures made its way around the various Parisian bars and restaurants targeted by the shootings – including the Bataclan concert venue, where the death toll was highest.

A tribute also took place at the town hall of Paris’s eastern 11th arrondissement, a short distance from the Bataclan. No speeches were given during the wreath-laying ceremonies, and victims’ families were given a private space behind a cordon – away from the eyes of the media.

In a tweet, President Emmanuel Macron called on the French to remember their promise to “stay united” and to never to allow the perpetrators behind the attacks to “win”.

On Tuesday, the Paris City Council, voted to create a "Garden of Remembrance" for those killed in the attacks – the location of which is yet unknown.

Cérémonie de commémoration pour les victimes du 13-Novembre au Bataclan, le 13 novembre 2018
Cérémonie de commémoration pour les victimes du 13-Novembre au Bataclan, le 13 novembre 2018 REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

The Paris attacks profoundly shook France and left the country under a state of emergency that lasted two years. Four years later, the events of that day are still making front-page headlines.

“For the survivors, the trauma is still there,” reported the daily Le Parisien, which spoke to three survivors about their difficult path to recovery, and their feelings of being forgotten.

Le Figaro tells us that France is the EU country worst affected by Islamist terrorism – with 54.3 percent of attacks claimed by the Islamic State group having taken place in the “Hexagone”, often against police and military targets.

Meanwhile 24-hour news channel BFM reminds us the terror threat in France remains high, and that four attacks have been foiled since the beginning of the year.

Police are advising “increased vigilance” after the death of Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, BFM reports, with attacks planned on French soil particularly feared.

Meanwhile Le Monde cites a study profiling the perpetrators of successful attacks between 2015 and 2018, pointing out that while they were all carried out by men, it would be a mistake to think that women were not involved.

Women were more likely to be radicalised than men – and they were “overrepresented” in planned attacks involving the use of explosives and knives, the paper said.

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