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A show of solidarity

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Victoria Park fell silent yesterday as Bermuda remembered the victims of the terror attacks in Paris that left 17 dead.

The Island’s French community were joined by dozens of residents and public officials in a show of solidarity to coincide with remembrance rallies taking place in France and across Europe.

Government was represented by Attorney-General Trevor Moniz, while Walton Brown, the Shadow Immigration Minister, represented the Opposition.

More than three million people took part in unity marches across France in the wake of three days of deadly attacks, while in Paris more than 40 world leaders took to the streets along with an estimated 1.5 million in a demonstration of togetherness.

Honorary Consul of France in Bermuda, Nicole Haziza, told The Royal Gazette: “In the last two days and around the world, millions of people have gathered in peaceful rallies in a display of unprecedented solidarity with the victims of last week’s attacks against French journalists, police forces and members of the Jewish community in Paris.

“For many, these events were not only acts of terrorism that killed and wounded over 20 people, but they were also perceived as an attack on core values of our democracies: freedom of expression, fraternity and respect for all the members of our communities.

“In Bermuda, yesterday at 10am in Victoria Park, crowds of French citizens and concerned local residents observed a minute of silence to coincide with the official rallies that took place in France.

“I would like to thank the organisers of the rally. I also would like to thank those present, including Governor George Fergusson, US Consul General Robert Settje, Attorney-General Trevor Moniz, MP Walton Brown, Deputy Governor Ginny Ferson, former honorary French Consuls Edgar Humann and Riquette Bonne-Smith.”

Last Wednesday’s atrocities in Paris, in which two gunmen stormed the offices of Charlie Hebdo killing 12 people, were followed on Friday by two hostage crises in the French capital and further devastation.

Brothers Cherif and Said Kouachi, who were believed to be responsible for the attack on the Charlie Hebdo offices, were shot dead by French police after a standoff in the north of the city.

Meanwhile, a third gunman, Amedy Coulibaly, who held shoppers hostage in a Jewish grocery store in the city centre, was also killed when police stormed the building. Four hostages were killed in the second siege.

A spokesman for the organisers of the Bermuda event said: “This peaceful vigil will give Bermuda the opportunity to reaffirm the values it shares with the French people — freedom, equality and brotherhood — while also taking a stand against threats to freedom of expression.”

Go to Overseas, Page 40

Photo by Nolwenn Pugi
Sandra and Pierre Rouja hold up a sign showing their solidarity with victims of last weeks Paris terrorist attacks at a rally in Victoria Park (Photo by Mark Tatem)
Fabien Vidy with his daughter Zivah holds up a sign showing his solidarity with victims of last weeks Paris terrorist attacks at a rally in Victoria Park (Photo by Mark Tatem)