Several hundred people gathered in Paris on Wednesday to pay tribute to the 130 people killed in a series of terror attacks on November 13th 2015, reports Radio France Internationale.
Survivors and family members of victims gathered for an official ceremony in front of the Bataclan concert hall, one of several targets of attacks around the French capital on November 13th 2015. Police officers, firefighters and paramedics were also in attendance for a fourth-anniversary ceremony marked by a reading of the 90 people who died there, a moment of silence and a laying of wreaths.
“It’s easier from one year to the next,” said Laurent Moreau, a 44-year-old graphic designer. “The hardest part is seeing families crying and hearing the reading of the names.”
Moreau was at the concert with his wife and two friends. Although all survived, he came to the ceremony alone.
“The others don’t want to come, it’s too hard for them,” he said. “My wife and I moved away from Paris. One friend lost his job, because it was impossible for him to work, to clear his mind. And the other closed it off, he doesn’t want to speak about the Bataclan.”
Even if four years have passed, the events remain very much a daily reality for those who were confronted with the extreme violence of the attack.
“I’ve come four years in a row, and I was really struck by the huge amount of emotion,” said Alexis Lebrun, a Bataclan survivor and spokesperson of Life for Paris, one of the two groups representing victims of the attacks.
“For people who were touched directly on 13 November 2015, it’s still fresh in their memory.”
After the ceremony, Life for Paris held another gathering outside the town hall of Paris’s 11th arrondissement a short walk away for speeches and musical tributes.
“It took me a long time to be able to come,” said Dany Krivokuca, 54, a Bataclan survivor attending the ceremony for the second time.
“At the beginning you don’t want to accept this, and you work on yourself and with people around you, just to say okay, this has to stop, we have to be strong to stop this together.”
Now Krivokuca comes in the spirit of commemoration.
“Some people just want to erase all of this, but I don’t think it’s a good idea,” she said. “It’s like war: you cannot forget war, you have to think about it.”
Others have been coming from the start. Sheelagh Alexander, whose son Nick died in the Bataclan, travels from the UK to attendthe ceremonies every year.
“The first year it was really new, no-one knew what was really required, people were still recovering,” Alexander said. “Now I think it’s gotten into a routine and they’re seeing what people need.”
See more of this report from RFI.