The Hindu

FRENCH SHOW FORTITUDE; MUMBAI ON ALERT

- DHANANJAY KHADILKAR

PARIS: As Paris came under attack on Friday night, French fortitude under adversity shone through.

While being evacuated from the stadium where France and Germany played a friendly football match, the 80,000 spectators sang the French national anthem, turning it into an intensely emotional affair and a symbol of French fortitude in the face of terror. The video has since gone viral.

President Francois Hollande said France had vowed to bring the perpetrato­rs to justice. France would be “merciless” with the nation’s enemies. “We will work alongside our allies to fight this terrorist menace,” he said in his address to the nation. “France is strong, and even if she is wounded, she will get up always and nothing will hold her down, even if we are feeling the grief now.”

The stadium witnessed two suicide attacks — one at each entrance — and a bombing close to a McDonald’s restaurant outside. People were seen on the streets with bloodied faces and limbs, trying to escape.

The other four attacks took place at La Belle Equipe cafe on Rue de Charonne (19 dead), Le Carillon bar and cafe and the adjacent Le Petit Cambodge, a Cambodian restaurant (12 dead) and La Casa Nostra restaurant (five dead).

What has shaken the French in general and Parisians in particular is that this is the second big terror attack in one year. The city still bears the scars of the January attack on the satirical weekly newspaper Charlie Hebdo. Paris is hosting the United Nations Conference on Climate Change from November 30 to December 11 in which more than 100 heads of state are expected to participat­e. France is the host of Europe’s top football competitio­n next year, the UEFA European Championsh­ip.

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