Expatica news

Europe falls silent to remember Madrid dead

15 March 2004

MADRID – Thousands across Europe joined a three-minute silence Monday in Spain for the victims of the Madrid train bombings.

Leaders of nations across the continent took part in the tribute at noon.

Workers in countries from Ireland to Romania also stopped their work and observed the silence, the BBC reported.

It was proposed by the Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern, president of the European Council, who called on all EU states to show solidarity with Spain.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair, French President Jacques Chirac and European Commission Chairman Romano Prodi were among those observing the silence.

In London, people stood still outside the Spanish embassy and there were similar scenes in Paris, Glasgow, and Berlin, and Ljubljana in Slovenia.

The tribute extended beyond the borders of the EU, with Romania – which lost at least 11 people in the Madrid bombs – also marking the occasion.

As Europe united in respect for those who died, there have been calls across the continent for greater co-operation between countries in fighting terrorism.

Ahern urged the EU to step up its action plan to counter the terrorist threat.

French Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin, visiting the scene of the Madrid attacks on Sunday, said French security officials would play their part.

The three-minute silence on Monday followed similar tributes across the world.

Spanish Prime Minister-elect Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero held a minute’s silence during his victory speech on Sunday.

Spanish football matches observed silences, and singer Enrique Iglesias – who was born in Madrid – called for silence at a concert in Sydney.

In London Sunday, the Queen broke with protocol and had the Spanish national anthem played at the Changing the Guard ceremony.

Subject: Spanish news