Paris attacks: Mourning crowd gathers despite police calls, flees as firecrackers let off

Tensions remain despite defiance in Place de la Republique

Josh Barrie
Monday 16 November 2015 00:55
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France: Panic in central Paris as crowds flee Republic Square

Crowds of mourners who gathered at Paris’ Place de la Republique on Sunday evening fled in panic after hearing what they thought were gunshots.

Parisians had gathered around the monument in the square to pay tribute to those killed in Friday night’s terrorist attacks that left at least 129 dead.

The loud bangs frightened a group of people just before 6pm, which sparked many more to run in terror. Residents were captured on video and seen hiding under tables and seeking the safety of nearby restaurants as police arrived on the scene.

It later emerged the bangs had been a false alarm and were caused by firecrackers, AP reports. The mourners had gathered in the face of police advice not to form large crowds in the wake of the attacks, but the alarm and the speed it spread are signs of the tensions that will linger across the city and beyond.

Europe and much of the world have come together in solidarity following the atrocity. On Monday, countries across Europe are to hold a minute's silence as a mark of respect - at 11am in Britain.

The attackers massacred French nationals and tourists in six parts of the capital – the most horrifying being the shootings at the Bataclan concert hall, where 89 people died.

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