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France pays national tribute to terror victims

227 Days ago

Paris: Under a cloudy sky and windy conditions, hundreds gathered at the Republic Square in Paris on Sunday to take part in a national tribute to the 147 people killed in terror attacks in January and November 2015.

According to Xinhua, President Francois Hollande presided over the official ceremony during which he unveiled a memorial plaque whose text said: "In memory of the victims of the terrorist attacks in January and November 2015, in Paris, Montrouge and St. Denis. Here, the people of France pay tribute."

A 10-metre-tall commemorative oak tree was planted at Place de La Republique.

At the official ceremony attended by members of the government and victims' families, rock star Johnny Hallyday performed his song "A Sunday in January" referring to the millions of people who took to the country's streets following the attacks at a satirical magazine and Jewish shop.

The French army choir sang "The names of Paris" of Jacques Brel before reading a Victor Hugo address marking his return from exile on September 5, 1870.

Hugo, one of the greatest and best-known French writers said "I only ask one thing, the union!"

With a wreath laid at the Republic statue and one minute of silence, Hollande ended the public ceremony, the last in a series of memorial events that began this week.

Speaking to state-run TV channel France 2, Prime Minister Manuel Valls said honouring the victims at the first anniversary of the fatal attacks was a message of "the strength to say that we are here, we are alive".

In November, a group of French nationals with alleged links with the Islamic State stormed a concert hall and targeted restaurants and a national stadium in the capital, where 130 people lost their lives.

Eleven months before, armed men killed 17 people in separate attacks targeting Charlie Hebdo, a magazine known for mocking politicians and religious leaders, and a kosher supermarket. (IANS)

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