France marks year since Paris attacks

France yesterday marked the first anniversary of the Paris attacks with sombre ceremonies and painful memories for the relatives of the 130 people killed.

President Francois Hollande unveiled plaques at sites across the city attacked by the Islamic State jihadist group, starting at the Stade de France.

Manuel Dias, 63, was killed by a suicide bomber outside the national stadium, where France were playing Germany in a football match, in the first of a series of coordinated attacks on the evening of November 13 last year.

Hollande and Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo also unveiled plaques outside bars and restaurants in the trendy neighbourhood where gunmen sprayed bullets at people enjoying a Friday evening out.

The final ceremony took place outside the Bataclan, the concert hall where 90 people were killed by three attackers during a rock concert in the culmination of the carnage.

The names of those killed were read out as hundreds of people gathered under rainy skies watched in silence.

Rock star Sting reopened the refurbished Bataclan with an emotionally charged show held amid tight security on Saturday.

“We will not forget them,” the British singer told the crowd in French after a minute’s silence for the victims. Many in the crowd wept during the first song, Fragile.

Bataclan management said they had prevented two members of US group Eagles of Death Metal -who were on stage when the bloodshed started -from entering the Sting concert over controversial remarks by their lead singer Jesse Hughes.

“I threw them out. There are things you can’t forgive,” venue co-director Jules Frutos said.

However, the band’s manager denied members of the group had tried to enter the concert hall at all.

Hughes, who caused outrage in France by suggesting Muslim staff at the Bataclan might have cooperated with the attackers, was in the crowd for yesterday’s ceremony at the venue.

The Islamic State said it had struck at France because it was bombing its militants in Iraq and Syria.

Hollande responded at the time by saying France was at war and French jets continue to launch air strikes on the group, which is fighting an Iraqi-led assault to take back the city of Mosul.

Prime Minister Manuel Valls said yesterday the state of emergency declared after the attacks would probably be extended as France gears up for presidential elections in six months’ time.

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