Atlanta shakes its fist at terror

Olympic bombing: Republicans say they will relax opposition to tough new laws on arms

Three days after a bomb threatened the Olympics, Atlanta plans to "take back the Games from the terrorists" today by reopening Centennial Park, the site of the blast lying in the heart of the city.

For the first time since the bombing at 1.30am on Saturday, thousands are expected to return this morning for a memorial and prayer service for the bomb's victims, led by the Rev Andrew Young, a former mayor of Atlanta, former ambassador to the UN and a leading member of the Olympics organising committee.

As the Games continued yesterday, President Bill Clinton was holding a summit on terrorism with the head of the FBI and the leaders in Congress of both political parties.

Angered by the Atlanta bombing and the likelihood that the TWA plane was blown up, Mr Clinton is pressing for tougher laws against terrorism.

These may include tapping the phones of suspects, greater military assistance to law- enforcement agencies and obliging explosives manufacturers to give their products identifiable chemical markings, which would make it easier to trace the bombers.

The Republican speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich, has indicated that his party might drop its opposition to Mr Clinton's suggestions, which were first made after last year's Oklahoma City bombing. Gun rights advocates and civil liberties groups then attacked the ideas as a threat to the rights of individuals.

Adding to the urgency of the White House summit was the question of security at the impending party conventions next month in San Diego and Chicago, in the run-up to the November presidential elections.

Today's reopening of Centennial Park, which is a paved, open-air, cultural, leisure and exhibition centre, is expected to be a symbolic moment for the residents of Atlanta.

The park, built for the Olympics in a deserted, run-down area, was the focal point for the Games' non-sporting activity, with free nightly concerts that ran into the small hours. It is paved with "sponsored" bricks, bearing the names of the people around the world who paid for them.

Bob Brennan, spokesman for the Atlanta organisers of the Games, urged the public to defy terrorism, including threats from "copycats out there who're finding great fun in disrupting the Games as much as they can", by flocking to the re-opening. "We are determined to defy cowardice," he said, adding that he could not confirm reports that some Olympics teams were leaving Atlanta early because of the bombing.

Mr Brennan said the bombing had taught valuable lessons to the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games and to the special observer delegations from Sydney, which will host the Games in the year 2,000, and the cities which are bidding for the 2,004 event. There has been speculation here that some of these cities may drop their bids after seeing the psychological damage done to Atlanta.

Today's memorial service and the reopening of the park promises to be among the most emotional events here since the civil rights sermons of Martin Luther King. To many residents, the re-opening of their beloved "park" is being billed as more significant than last week's opening of the Games.

Atlantans have compared the scars of the bombing and their recovery to the way the city rose from the ashes of the Civil War in the mid-19th century.

The focus of the memorial service will be 44-year-old ice cream parlour owner Alice Hawthorne, the only person who was killed by the pipe bomb. A Turkish TV cameraman also died from a heart attack while rushing to the scene and more than 100 people were wounded, a dozen seriously.

Mrs Hawthorne's widower, John, has criticised Olympics officials for minimising the loss of his wife. "No-one bothered to even call me up to give their condolences," he said. While he was out making funeral arrangements on Sunday, burglars broke into his home and stole his television set and video recorder, police said.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Arts and Entertainment
Books should be for everyone, says Els, 8. Publisher Scholastic now agrees
booksAn eight-year-old saw a pirate book was ‘for boys’ and took on the publishers
Life and Style
Mary Beard received abuse after speaking positively on 'Question Time' about immigrant workers: 'When people say ridiculous, untrue and hurtful things, then I think you should call them out'
tech
Life and Style
Most mail-order brides are thought to come from Thailand, the Philippines and Romania
life
News
i100
Life and Style
tech
Voices
Margaret Thatcher, with her director of publicity Sir Gordon Reece, who helped her and the Tory Party to victory in 1979
voicesThe subject is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for former PR man DJ Taylor
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Treasury Assistant - Accounts Assistant - London, Old Street

£24000 - £26000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Recruitment Genius: Installation and Service / Security Engineer

£22000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is part of a Group...

Recruitment Genius: Service Charge Accounts Assistant

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a a young, dynamic pers...

Cancer Research UK: Corporate Partnerships Volunteer Events Coordinator – London

Voluntary: Cancer Research UK: We’re looking for someone to support our award ...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

Confessions of a former PR man

The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

The mother of all goodbyes

Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions