Paris attacks: London lights up landmarks in show of unity with France

The red, white and blue of the French flag illuminated the National Gallery, the fountain in Trafalgar Square, Tower Bridge and County Hall

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The Independent Online

Landmarks in London were lit up with the colours of the Tricolore in a striking show of unity with France following the terror crisis.

The red, white and blue of the French flag illuminated the National Gallery and the fountain in Trafalgar Square.

The colours were also beamed onto Tower Bridge while the London Eye went dark to allow a similar spectacle at County Hall.

Hundreds gathered in Trafalgar Square to honour the victims of the massacre and express defiance against the killers who visited terror and grief on Paris.

As they did after the initial attacks on Wednesday, people held pens and pencils aloft in solidarity with the murdered journalists.

French flags were waved high, and a "wreath" of pens was laid on the ground, a circle filled with flowers, placards reading "Je Suis Charlie" and a single Tricolore flag.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg was among the crowds, and told Sky News there was a "striking dignity" about people coming together spontaneously to "show their quiet disgust at what happened".

He said: "The attacks in Paris were not just an attack on our physical security but also on the values of freedom of expression which are so important to all European societies and something that we share on either side of the Channel."

He added that mockery, which the terrorists tried to silence, is part and parcel of what "living in a free, open and democratic society is about".

"I think what these very dignified demonstrations and processions and marches show today is a steely intolerance against that kind of extremist intolerance.

"And I think that is right - we do need to stand up for our values when they are being so directly attacked as they have been this week."

Tower Bridge is illuminated with the colours of the French Tricolore flag, in support of the victims of recent terrorist attacks in France

French Ambassador to the UK Sylvie Bermann told Sky News today's events were "very important".

She said: "The message is fight against terrorism, to defend our voices, to defend our freedoms of opinion and expression.

"Everybody wanted to participate and everybody is concerned."

Mayor of London Boris Johnson said the display in Trafalgar Square symbolises London's "solidarity" with Paris and "our feelings of unity in grief and in outrage and determination of these two great historic cities of freedom to stand together in the fight for that freedom".

He added: "What we are trying to get over here today with a great, great show of unity by Londoners is that the people who committed the atrocities in Paris ... had one objective only and that was to divide our societies and to divide our communities one from another and to foster mistrust and hatred and suspicion.

"The worst thing possible would be to allow them to succeed. That's why it's so important that so many voices from across the nation, across every community, across all religions, have joined together to denounce what happened in Paris and to show support for all the victims."