French president unveils memorial to victims of 2015 terrorism | News | DW | 10.01.2016
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French president unveils memorial to victims of 2015 terrorism

Francois Hollande and Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo have dedicated a plaque in the Place de la Republique to the 147 people who died at the hands of terrorists in France in 2015. This follows a week of mourning in France.

President Francois Hollande was joined by a ring of other dignitaries and thousands of onlookers on Sunday to honor the nearly 150 French citizens who died in terrorist attacks in 2015. At the president's side was Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, and together they unveiled a plaque in the city's famous Place de la Republique to pay permanent homage to the victims.

The Place de la Republique re-emerged as a gathering place for defiance in the face of tragedy after last January's attacks on the office of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, shortly followed by a similar assault on a kosher supermarket. Paris was rocked yet again in November, when coordinated attacks on bars, a theater and a sports stadium killed 130 people.

French rocker Johnny Hallyday marked the unveiling with a performance of the song Un dimanche de janvier (A Sunday in January) on the exact anniversary of a 1.5 million strong march taking to the same square to honor the 17 victims of the first bout of terrorist violence. Millions of ordinary people were joined by around 40 world leaders, who locked arms in a sign of solidarity with France against extremism.

Hallyday then joined the French military choir for a somber musical homage.

On Saturday, a special ceremony in Paris paid tribute to the January attacks' four Jewish victims, who died after being taken hostage in the Hyper Cacher grocery store.

"France would not be France" without its Jewish community, said Prime Minister Manuel Valls.

2015 saw a record number of French Jews emigrating to Israel, according to a survey conducted by the Jewish Agency. Many named the attacks as an impetus for their exodus.

Following the low-key ceremony at the Place de la Republique, Hollande made an unannounced visit to one of the city's major mosques.

es/ng (dpa, AFP, AP)

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