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.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Sport
Ray Whelan was arrested earlier this week
Arts and Entertainment
In a minor key: Keira Knightley in the lightweight 'Begin Again'
film
Arts and Entertainment
Celebrated children’s author Allan Ahlberg, best known for Each Peach Pear Plum
books
News
peopleIndian actress known as the 'Grand Old Lady of Bollywood' was 102
News
Wayne’s estate faces a claim for alleged copyright breaches
peopleJohn Wayne's heirs duke it out with university over use of the late film star's nickname
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
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

Business Systems Analyst (Retail)

£30000 - £35000 Per Annum Up to 20% bonus: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: An...

Maths Teacher

£21804 - £31868 per annum: Randstad Education Chelmsford: We are urgently look...

Science Teacher

£21804 - £31868 per annum: Randstad Education Chelmsford: We are urgently look...

Psychology Teacher

£21804 - £31868 per annum: Randstad Education Chelmsford: We are urgently look...

Day In a Page

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice