Sting concert reopens Bataclan a year after deadly attack | Music | DW | 11.11.2016
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Sting concert reopens Bataclan a year after deadly attack

The Bataclan reopens with a Sting concert on Saturday, a year after a suicide bombing massacre left 89 people dead at the Paris concert hall.

Tickets for the Sting concert reopening the Bataclan concert hall in Paris on Saturday were sold out within half an hour.

He wants to "remember and honor those who lost their lives in the attack a year ago," the veteran British pop star said. The former Police frontman will donate all the proceeds from ticket sales to charities helping the victims and their families.

Over the past months, the concert hall has been thoroughly renovated, though without changing the original interior design. Apart from flowers many Parisians left outside of the concert hall on All Saints' Day earlier this month, nothing much in the 11th arrondissement neighborhood surrounding Boulevard Voltaire reminds passersby of the attacks on November 13, 2015. But the horror of that night continues to live on in the minds of people who survived the attack, and the victims' families. People who live near the music venue and saw the terror unfold from their windows aren't likely to forget, either.

'Incidents in the vicinity'

That night, an explosion detonated outside the Stade de France in the suburb of Saint-Denis, where the French national football team was playing Germany in a friendly. The match continued.

"When I heard the explosion, I had a bad feeling," German player Antonio Rüdiger, 23, later said about that night. "Everyone sensed that this wasn't an everyday sound."

Two suicide bombers blew themselves up in front of the soccer stadium, killing two bystanders. The terrorists had originally planned to detonate their suicide vests in the sold-out stadium, but they were denied entrance.

woman looks at sea of flowers (picture alliance/dpa/photopqr/Le Parisien)

People paid tribute to the victims of the attack at the Bataclan on New Year's Eve 2015

At almost the same time in the center of the French capital, assailants opened fire on patrons in various bars and restaurants, killing 39 people. Then, shortly before 11 p.m., France's AFP news agency reported a hostage situation at the Bataclan concert hall, where the US rock band Eagles of Death Metal was playing that night.

About half an hour later, a local radio station had reports of a shooting incident at a shopping mall. Just before midnight, Paris authorities cautioned people to stay indoors. Eye witnesses reported five explosions at the Bataclan, packed with about 1,500 concert-goers, half an hour later.

The massacre

Information about the situation in the concert hall began to trickle out: three heavily armed terrorists threw hand grenades and fired into the audience. Eyewitnesses reported executions, urging the police to storm the venue. After negotiations with the terrorists failed, special police units stormed the Bataclan, killing two assailants; one of the kidnappers had already been shot earlier in the evening. Hundreds of injured and traumatized concert-goers were finally freed.

"It's a horror," French President Francois Hollande said, telling crowds at the site of the Bataclan attack that the nation would be leading "a war which will be pitiless" against the terrorists. The "Islamic State" terrorist group had swiftly claimed responsibility for the Paris attacks.

Parisian 'joie de vivre'

The Bataclan, where a plaque commemorating the victims is to be unveiled this weekend, is situated on Boulevard Voltaire in the 11th arrondissement.

It's a lively and highly popular neighborhood teeming with small bakeries, bars, restaurants, galleries and boutiques. It's also steeped in history: It was here that on July 14, 1789, Parisians began the French Revolution with the storming of the Bastille.




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