Paris Under Attack
At around 9:50 (GMT) last night, in an act of hatred that rocked the world, at least 128 people were brutally murdered and a further 180 were injured in a series of bombings and gunfire attacks in central Paris.
Explosions were reported throughout central Paris – the most densely populated areas to be targeted were near the Stade de France where the French football team were playing Germany, and the Bataclan concert hall where there was a sold out concert of US rock group, Eagles of Death Metal. It has been reported that there was a hostage situation in the Bataclan where 87 were killed, and there were an unknown number killed at the stadium. This horrific violence comes less than a year after Islamic extremist gunmen murdered 18 people in an attack on the Charlie Hebdo offices, and on the same day as other horrendous events in Japan, Germany and Lebanon.
Across the news channels, chilling eye-witness accounts have been reported. According to the BBC, Jonathon Hill from Cardiff was around 50 yards away from the Bataclan itself, ‘I saw a guy probably 6ft 4 to 6ft 5, quite a heavy-set man, looked Caucasian from about 50 yards away. And he was in the middle of the street shouting “Allez! Allez!” at people. He almost seemed to be a good Samaritan telling people to get out of from the cafes and go inside. As that happened I saw another shot and I saw someone collapse to the floor outside the Bataclan.’ Another witness said everyone had dropped to the floor.
‘A girl was carried by a young man in his arms. She appeared to be dead.’
At least 8 of the attackers died, 7 of whom through suicide bombs. France’s president, Francois Hollande, has blamed ‘ISIS barbarians’ for these attacks that he describes as an ‘abomination’. Reports state that on Saturday, ISIS posted a video in which they threatened to attack France if it continued to bomb Syria, and this morning they released a statement claiming responsibility for the attacks, stating that they were in response to air strikes on their territory. They also said that they were in response to France ‘[…]having dared insult our Prophet, having bragged about fighting Islam in France and striking Muslims in the Caliphate with their planes which have not helped them in any way in the ill-smelling streets of Paris. This attack is just the start of a storm and a warning for those who wish to draw lessons.’
Speaking at the Bataclan, a visibly shaken Hollande declared a state of emergency in France and stated that the borders would be closed in order to prevent further crimes and to be able to arrest those who committed the ruthless attacks. 1500 extra troops have also been deployed.
‘In these difficult moments, we must – and I’m thinking of the many victims, their families and the injured – show compassion and solidarity. But we must also show unity and calm’
There has been a powerful wave of support on social media across the globe with the hashtags ‘#PrayForPeace’ and ‘#PrayForParis’ trending worldwide. There has also been a wave of support posted by many Royal Holloway students. Georgia Austin, 1st Year Media Arts student, posted:
‘My heart is aching right now, just across the ocean from my home in Kent, Paris, a city that will never be the same again. My thoughts go to those affected and condolences to the loved ones of those caught in such a horrific tragedy. Please can we work as a progressive society to stop this from happening again, life is too fragile and we can’t make room for hate and war. Hoping we learn to make society a better place ensuring this is something which will only be in history books instead of breaking news. #prayforParis’
Megan Wishart, 1st Year Politcs and International relations student, retweeted a post saying
‘Sitting in a quiet room knowing that there are bloodied streets all around the world is unbearable’
And many other students have simply, but effectively, shared hastags, prayers and images of solidarity from around the world. It is an ‘unprecedented’ attack that has etched its mark onto the face of France and has changed the lives of countless people. Families everywhere will have loved ones in Paris that they are waiting to hear from, so please continue to be respectful and share love, as we have many students here at ROHO who have families in all the countries hurt yesterday.
Paris Under Attack
The Key Facts:
• National state of emergency in France
• Borders closed
• 128 people killed
• 180 injured
• Series of 6 attacks