UK

Paris Attacks Memorial: Francois Hollande Tells Crowd France Will 'Sing Even More' In Response To Terror

27/11/2015 15:19 GMT | Updated 27/11/2015 17:59 GMT

The French will respond to the terrorist attacks on Paris by defiantly "singing even more", President Francois Hollande has said.

In a solemn memorial to the 130 killed in the capital two weeks ago, Hollande said the country would not give in to an "army of fanatics," as the French remain gripped by fear and uncertainty in the wake of the Islamic State attack.

Hollande honoured each of the dead by name, including Briton Nick Alexander, and noted that most were under 35, killed while enjoying a mild Friday night of music, food, drinks or sports. The youngest was 17. The oldest, 68.

"We will sing even more, continue going to concerts and stadiums," he said at the Invalides national monument, in front of a crowd of around 1,000 people who had lost loved ones in the attack.

The courtyard went silent after the reading of the names finished, broken finally by a mournful cello. Hollande stared straight ahead.

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Hollande at the ceremony

Throughout Paris, French flags fluttered in windows and on buses in response to the second deadly terror attack there this year.

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A French flag is displayed at the market Boulevard Richard Lenoir near the Bataclan

The November 13 attack saw three teams of suicide bombers and gunmen strike across Paris, beginning at the Stade de France - where Hollande was among the spectators for a friendly against Germany - and ending in the storming of a concert at the Bataclan concert venue, where 89 were killed.

Among those at the Invalides were those wounded in the attack. They sat at the front of the crowd, some in wheelchairs with blankets, accompanied by members of the Red Cross.

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People wounded in the attack at the front of the crowd

The crowd sang the Marseillaise, which was sung by people as the stadium was evacuated on November 13 and again by English and French fans at Wembley at an England versus France friendly four days later.

Nick Alexander was the only Briton killed in the attack. He was the merchandise manager for band the Eagles Of Death Metal, who were playing the Bataclan when it was attacked.

His parents, Barry and Sheelagh Alexander, said "words cannot express the sadness we feel at the loss of our precious Nick" as they prepared to attend the memorial service, the Press Association reports.

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Nick Alexander

They thanked Parisians for the "outpouring of love from around the world" for their 36-year-old son.

They said in statement: "Words cannot express the sadness we feel at the loss of our precious Nick.

"This is just the beginning of a long road where we will have to get used to the absence of his physical presence around us – a physical presence that we loved so much, that made us laugh, that we loved being with, and always held us close wherever he was.

"We will get through this with the love and strength of our beloved family, friends and colleagues, and the support of so many people we have never even met.

"The outpouring of love from around the world has been a great comfort to us and makes us even more proud to have had Nick as our son. We will love and miss him forever."

The band said Alexander, from Colchester, died after "bleeding out in silence" to protect others during the attack.

Frontman Jesse Hughes said he died “staying quiet and never call[ing] for help until he bled out, because he didn’t want anyone else to get hurt”.

In a blog on Le Huffington Post, the father a of a 17-year-old victim said he would not attend the memorial because France's role in Libya and Syria had contributed to what happened.

"The state and its most recent leaders bear a heavy responsibility for what happened," Eric Ouzounian wrote. "I am appalled by my country devastated and I am devastated by the death of my daughter."