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VIDEO: French fans join in with God Save the Queen in emotional tribute to terror victims

VIDEOS: French fans united with their English counterparts on Tuesday night to sign God Save the Queen and Don't Look Back in Anger by Oasis in memory of the victims of the terror attacks in London and Manchester.

VIDEO: French fans join in with God Save the Queen in emotional tribute to terror victims
Photo: AFP

An emotional tribute was paid to the victims of the recent terror attacks in the United Kingdom prior to England's friendly
match with France in Paris on Tuesday evening.

French President Emmanuel Macron and British Prime Minister Theresa May attended the match at the Stade de France, to the north of the capital, as the hosts offered their solidarity to their visitors.

A minute's silence was impeccably observed by the crowd of almost 80,000 prior to kick-off, after French spectators joined in with the singing of the English anthem 'God Save the Queen', the words of which were put up on big screens around the ground.

The teams had come out to 'Don't Look Back in Anger', the song by Manchester band Oasis which was played by the band and choir of the French Republican Guard, ably backed up by around 2,500 travelling English fans in one corner of the ground.

 

 
 

 

That song was seen as an anthem for Manchester after the English city was hit by a suicide bombing at the end of an Ariana Grande concert last month which claimed 22 lives.

Another eight people, including three French nationals, were also murdered in a terror attack in London on June 3.

An English flag was displayed by a section of the Stade de France crowd as the teams entered the field on a balmy evening.

The match kicked off around five minutes later than the scheduled 9pm (1900 GMT) start, after Macron and May had arrived at the stadium in the nick of time.

They had met at the President's Elysee Palace a little earlier to discuss business ahead of the start of Brexit negotiations next week.

Security was very tight around France's national stadium, as it has been for all events since a wave of terror attacks began to hit the country over the last couple of years.

The game was the first meeting of the sides since November 2015, when England won 2-0 in a friendly on an emotionally charged night at Wembley.

That match was played despite France being in a state of shock in the wake of the terror attacks that struck Paris just four days earlier.

A total of 130 people were killed on November 13, 2015, when the Stade de France itself was one of the targets, being attacked by suicide bombers during a friendly match against Germany.

On that occasion, the London crowd joined in with the singing of the French anthem, 'La Marseillaise', which was also played before English Premier League games the following weekend.

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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