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TERRORISM

Ariana Grande to resume world tour in Paris amid tight security

US singer Ariana Grande is to resume her world tour in Paris on Wednesday, more than two weeks after it was interrupted by the Manchester suicide bomb attack.

Ariana Grande to resume world tour in Paris amid tight security
Accorhotels Arena, the venue in Paris where Ariana Grande will play Wednesday evening. Photo: ColosseoEAS/Flicker
Security will be extra tight in the French capital, a day after police shot and injured a man who attacked an officer outside the world-famous Notre Dame cathedral.
 
Roads will be blocked off around Accorhotels Arena concert venue in the east of Paris while police will help security guards to check fans as they arrive for the show.
 
Even before Tuesday's Notre Dame attack, police had announced a significant deployment planned for the US singer's concert, noting its “powerful symbolic context”.
 
On May 22 a suicide bomber blew himself up, killing 22 people including 7 children at a concert by Grande in Manchester.
 
She cancelled shows she was due to give in London, Belgium, Germany, Poland and Switzerland, and returned to Florida, before returning to Manchester on Sunday to headline an all-star benefit show for victims of the attack.
 
Photo: AFP
 
Before the Paris show, her young fans said they would not give in to fear.
 
“I feel really anxious but I don't want that to stop me from going. I will probably feel on edge, I hope security is tight — if there is something planned, there is not much we can do,” said Caoimhe McDonnell, a 19-year-old student from Northern Ireland living in Paris.
 
Clodagh Ennis, also 19, added: “I feel that not going to the concert would be letting terrorists win, that's what they want, they want people to be scared, so still attending despite the attacks is like a protest against them.
 
“Personally, I am not naturally a worried person. Of course there will be the thought of 'What if something happens?' but I know there are probably people a lot more worried than I am.
 
“I do wonder what the concert will be like, will it go as normal, will it be sad, but I think the best thing to do is go and show our support for her, and try to enjoy it as much as we can.”

TERRORISM

US vice president lays wreaths at site of 2015 Paris terror attacks

US Vice President Kamala Harris and French Prime Minister Jean Castex laid wreaths at a Paris cafe and France's national football stadium Saturday six years since deadly terror attacks that left 130 people dead.

US vice president lays wreaths at site of 2015 Paris terror attacks
US Vice President Kamala Harris and her husband Doug Emhoff lay flowers after ceremonies at Le Carillon bar and Le Petit Cambodge restaurant, at which 130 people were killed during the 2015 Paris terror attacks. Photo: Sarahbeth Maney/POOL/AFP

The attacks by three separate teams of Islamic State group jihadists on the night of November 13, 2015 were the worst in France since World War II.

Gunmen mowed down 129 people in front of cafes and at a concert hall in the capital, while a bus driver was killed after suicide bombers blew themselves up at the gates of the stadium in its suburbs.

Harris, wrapping up a four-day trip to France, placed a bouquet of white flowers in front of a plaque honouring the victims outside a Paris cafe.

Castex attended a minute of silence at the Stade de France football stadium, along with Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo, before laying wreaths at the sites of the other attacks inside Paris.

In front of the Bataclan concert hall, survivors and relatives of the victims listened to someone read out the names of each of the 90 people killed during a concert there six years ago.

Public commemorations of the tragedy were called off last year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“Last year we weren’t allowed to come and we all found it really tough,” said Bruno Poncet, who made it out alive of the Bataclan.

But he said the start of a trial over the attacks in September meant that those attending the commemoration this year felt more united.

‘Overcome it all’

“We’ve really bonded thanks to the trial,” he said. “During previous commemorations, we’d spot each other from afar without really daring to speak to each other. We were really shy. But standing up in court has really changed everything.”

The marathon trial, the biggest in France’s modern legal history, is expected to last until May 2022.

Twenty defendants are facing sentences of up to life in prison, including the sole attacker who was not gunned down by police, Salah Abdeslam, a French-Moroccan national who was captured in Brussels. Six of the defendants are being tried in absentia.

Poncet said he felt it was crucial that he attend the hearings. “I can’t possibly not. It’s our lives that are being discussed in that room, and it’s important to come to support the others and to try to overcome it all.”

Survivors have taken to the witness stand to recount the horror of the attacks, but also to describe life afterwards.

Several said they had been struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder, grappling with survivor’s guilt, or even feeling alienated from the rest of society.

Saturday’s commemorations are to wrap up with a minute of silence at the Stade de France in the evening before the kick-off for a game between France and Kazakhstan.

It was during a football match between France and Germany that three suicide bombers blew themselves up in 2015.

Then-French president Francois Hollande was one of the 80,000 people in the crowd, before he was discreetly whisked away to avoid triggering mass panic.

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