France pays tribute to victims of Nice attack

The names of the 86 dead were read and 86 white roses placed on the centre of the ceremony square

Gulf News

Nice, France: French President Francois Hollande presided at a ceremony on Saturday paying homage to the 86 people killed when an Islamist rammed his truck through crowds watching holiday fireworks in Nice.

The ceremony took place atop a hill overlooking the Promenade des Anglais, the scene of the slaughter, in the presence of families, injured people, religious representatives, France’s main political leaders and Nice local authorities.

The names of the 86 victims were read and 86 white roses placed on the centre of the ceremony square.

Cindy Pellegrini, who lost six family members in the attack, recalled France’s ideal of “liberty, equality, fraternity.”

“Our sadness is undefinable,” she said. “How to live with physical wounds? How to live with moral wounds?”

“It’s national unity that has been hit on July 14. That’s the monstrous target of the terrorists,” Hollande said. “Hitting some to scare the others, unleashing violence to create division, instilling fear to fuel distrust and stigmatisation.

“This evil project will fail. Unity, liberty, humanity, in the end, will prevail,” he said.

The attack killed people from 19 nationalities — including 15 children and teenagers. The youngest victim was 2, the oldest 92, the French president recalled.

The southern French city is still reeling from the July 14 attack.

“We will never forget, we need to think of the victims,” said Marie-Helene Serat, a local resident working near the beachfront promenade. “All the local residents are touched … Every morning I’m passing here and every morning I thinking of this tragedy.”

Flowers, teddy bears and flags of different nations were floating on a makeshift memorial near the Promenade des Anglais.

Mary Kininmonth, a tourist from Scotland said “people need a place somewhere to go to express their feeling and their sadness.”