France begins burying victims of Paris attacks

Huge processions, personalised coffins and an invitation to the Rolling Stones are among the ways that French families have begun burying the young victims of the November 13th Paris attacks.

France begins burying victims of Paris attacks
The funeral of sisters Anna and Marion Petard-Lieffrig was held in Blois, central France, on Monday. Photo: AFP
Of the 130 fatalities in the carnage, 105 were French, hailing from 29 towns and cities, and ranging in age from 23 to 41.
Families have reached out on social media in an effort to personalise tributes for the people they lost.
The family of one victim, 33-year-old Aurelie de Peretti, launched a worldwide appeal for an artist to decorate de Peretti's coffin in a manner that befit the rock fan.
“Aurelie's family went to the funeral home and discovered with horror that the coffins were all pretty much the same,” explained Patricia, a family friend, in an interview with the Huffington Post.
The family has received lots of proposals from various street artists.
Matthieu Mauduit asked the Rolling Stones to attend the funeral of his brother Cedric who was killed at the Bataclan concert hall.
The rock group declined the invitation, but sent their “most sincere condolences” to Mauduit.
In the western seaside port of Concarneau, almost 3,000 people marched on Sunday in remembrance of Estelle Rouat, 25, who was also killed at the Bataclan.
As local music played, her cousins led a procession carrying a large photo of a smiling Rouat, who grew up in the town.
“Seeing so many people proves that life goes on and that we must fight; we cannot let cruelty win,” said one of Rouat's uncles who arranged the march.
“We must continue to live, to go out, to listen to music,” he added.
One funeral took place on Saturday in the northern French city of Hasnon for Sebastien Proisy, 38, reported the Voix du Nord newspaper.
France will hold a national tribute to the victims on Friday in Paris.
President Francois Hollande is expected to attend, along with many of the 350 people injured in the attacks.


France to mourn Paris terror attack victims

France on Friday will mourn the 130 people killed in the November 13 Paris attacks, with President Francois Hollande leading a solemn ceremony in honour of the victims.

France to mourn Paris terror attack victims
A makeshift vigil at the Belle Equipe restaurant where 19 died. Photo: The Local
Families of those killed in France's worst-ever terror attack, claimed by the Isis, will join some of the wounded at ceremonies at the Invalides, the gilded 17th-century complex in central Paris that houses a military hospital and museum and Napoleon's tomb.
The tribute will be “national and republican,” an official at the Elysee presidential palace said, referring to the French republic's creed of liberty, equality and fraternity.
“It will take place in sobriety and solemnity, reflected by the beauty of the surroundings.”
Hollande will break from a whirlwind diplomatic bid to build a broad military coalition to defeat IS.
The marathon has taken him from Paris to Washington to Moscow in just a few days.
He is expected to make a 20-minute address at the one-hour ceremony, which will be shown live on television.
In the run up to the commemoration, Hollande called on the French to hang out the Tricolour.
“Every French citizen can take part (in the tribute) by taking the opportunity to deck their home with a blue, white and red flag, the colours of France,” government spokesman Stephane Le Foll quoted Hollande as saying.
The government also called on people to take selfies featuring red, blue, and white, then to share them on social media with the hashtag #FiersdelaFrance (Proud of France).
But some victims' families have said they will snub the event, accusing the government of failing to tighten security after terror attacks in January, when jihadist gunmen killed 17 people in Paris, mainly at the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine.
“Thanks Mr President, politicians, but we don't want your handshake or your tribute, and we hold you partly responsible for what has happened!” Emmanuelle Prevost, whose brother was one of the 90 killed at the Bataclan concert hall, wrote on Facebook.
As the nation mourns the victims, an international manhunt is still on for two key suspects — Salah Abdeslam, who played a key logistical role in the wave of terror, and Mohamed Abrini, seen with Abdeslam two days before the November 13 atrocities.
France has stepped up its air strikes on IS targets in Syria and Iraq, where the group controls large areas of territory, and wants to create a more coordinated, concerted international effort to destroy the hardline Islamists.
Diplomatic push 
On a visit to Moscow Thursday, Hollande and Russian leader Vladimir Putin agreed to coordinate strikes against the jihadists.
“The strikes against Daesh (IS) will be intensified and be the object of coordination,” Hollande said at a press conference after their meeting at the Kremlin.
The agreement to focus on IS targets was the most concrete progress from the final leg of Hollande's marathon push to weld together a broad alliance to crush IS after the Paris attacks.
But the French leader failed to gain any pledge from Putin over helping the US-led coalition which is targeting IS.
Hollande's diplomatic drive has secured some offers of support from France's allies but also run into coolness and complications.
The challenge has been made tougher by by a spat between Moscow and Turkey over a downed Russian warplane on the Syrian-Turkish border.
The French leader has the support of Britain, whose Prime Minister David Cameron set out his case on Thursday for air strikes against IS in Syria, telling British MPs that the country could not “sub-contract” its security to allies.
He has also been backed by Germany, which has offered Tornado reconnaissance jets, a naval frigate, satellite images and aerial refuelling to help in the fight against IS.
Germany is also promising to send 650 soldiers to Mali to provide some relief to French forces fighting jihadists there.
But Hollande received a vague response from Italy, and got what analysts are calling a cool reply from President Barack Obama when he flew to Washington on Tuesday.