London lights up in support of grieving Paris

14th November 2015, Comments 0 comments

London paid homage on Saturday to the victims of the Paris terror attacks with mourners gathering in Trafalgar Square and iconic landmark Tower bridge due to be lit in the French flag's red, white and blue.

The fountains in the square will also take on the colours of the Tricolour, which will be projected onto the National Gallery, local officials said.

"At times like this it's important to show solidarity with the French people, especially since we're so close to Paris, it could easily happen here," said British student Alice Zhao, 18.

Braving the afternoon rain, around 150 people displayed flags and home-made placards reading "Nous sommes Paris" (We are Paris) and "London stands with Paris".

A "Pray for Paris" vigil was due to be held later Saturday in the famous square, organised by members of London's estimated 300,000-strong French community.

A planned firework display to honour the new mayor of the City of London was also cancelled, and instead Tower Bridge will be illuminated in the colours of the Tricolour.

The huge arch at Wembley Stadium -- where England will take on France in a friendly football match on Tuesday -- was earlier emblazoned red, white and blue.

The French embassy became a shrine to the 128 people killed in Friday's attacks, with around 60 bouquets laid at its front step.

"I just felt numb. It was just a sense that this kind of thing isn't really a surprise anymore. It just happens over and over and over," said Jonathan, 24, who cycles pass the embassy on his commute to work.

Andrey Sidelnikov, a Russian national, said: "We need to tell the all the world that we want to live in peace, only in peace. We don't want to live in war".

- 'Horrific and abhorrent' -

Faith groups the Christian-Muslim Forum and the Muslim Council of Britain also announced a silent vigil at Trafalgar Square on Saturday, with attendees bringing tea lights and blue, white and red flowers.

"This attack is being claimed by the group calling themselves 'Islamic State'," said Muslim Council of Britain's Secretary General Shuja Shafi.

"There is nothing Islamic about such people and their actions are evil, and outside the boundaries set by our faith," he said.

Public figures including Queen Elizabeth II, Prime Minister David Cameron and former footballer David Beckham lined up to pay tribute.

The Queen said she and husband Prince Philip were "deeply shocked and saddened by the terrible loss of life in Paris" while Cameron told the French people: "Your pain is our pain, your fight is our fight."

Beckham posted a photograph of Paris on social media, writing: "As the sun rises in this beautiful city we remember the people that have died and the families that have lost loved ones... Our thoughts are with you all... PrayForParis".

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© 2015 AFP

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