Marching for the dead, people of Gonesse say they want to feel safe

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They marched in silence and genuine grief, carrying flowers and prayers to the place where Concorde F-BTSC crashed to earth. The people of Gonesse, who live only a mile from the ash and rubble of flight AF4590, came to pay their respects to the dead yesterday.

They marched in silence and genuine grief, carrying flowers and prayers to the place where Concorde F-BTSC crashed to earth. The people of Gonesse, who live only a mile from the ash and rubble of flight AF4590, came to pay their respects to the dead yesterday.

The march was led by the town's mayor, Jean-Pierre Blazy, a Socialist member of the National Assembly. Like other political leaders in the area, he is furious at the growth in air traffic from Charles de Gaulle airport, or Roissy as it is known here. The number of flights out of Roissy has risen by one- quarter in the past two years and is expected soon to exceed 495,000 aircraft movements per year - more than Heathrow. Most aircraft pass through two channels over Gonesse or nearby Deuil-la-Barre.

The mayor of Deuil-la-Barre, Jean-Claude Noyer, has already taken a stance against the air traffic by issuing a decree banning noisy aircraft from the airspace above his four-square-mile municipal area. Legal action to determine the authority of his decree is pending but there is little chance of him succeeding.

Now Mr Blazy is using the opportunity of the Concorde crash to make his mark on the issue. One Gonesse resident said yesterday: "He has the backing of most of the people here.

"We're fed up with the flights and you can't help thinking that the more aeroplanes that fly over your house, the greater the chances of one falling on you."

Mr Blazy was unrepentant. "We have been after the government to do something about this for three years but it took a tragedy like this to make people take notice," he said.

But the march was mainly about paying respects to thevictims killed when the Concorde destroyed the Hotelissimo on the ground. These included a Mauritian woman, an Algerian student and two Poles. About 1,000 people marched in the sunshine, carrying white roses handed out by the mayor's office.

At the head of the procession, with Mr Blazy, was Michelle Fricheteau, the Hotelissimo manager. She and the other marchers laid down their flowers about 100 metres from the crash site. Unlike the others, however, Madam Fricheteau was burnt and crying as she laid down her rose and said a silent prayer.

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