Irish unite with French in Dublin solidarity march

Paris attacks: Thousands burst into rendition of La Marseillaise in Kildare Street

Thousands walked from Dublin's O'Connell street to Government offices on Kildare Street in silence as a mark of solidarity with the French.

 

Several thousand people, most of them French, have marched quietly through the centre of Dublin in solidarity with the people of Paris.

The march was organised overnight on social media in the aftermath of terrorist attacks in the French capital which killed at least 129 people and injured at least 352 more.

Thousands of predominantly young people, some obviously upset, leaned against each other, hugging friends gathered at the Spire and expressing shock and sadness.

National anthem

Waving a small number of French flags, the march wound its way briskly around the Luas construction works at Trinity College to Kildare Street, where it paused briefly outside the Alliance Francaise for a softly rendered version of La Marseillaise, the national anthem of France.

Leading the march was Juliette Charton, who said her parents and brother had been in Paris on Friday night but were safe and had not been caught up in the attacks.

Ms Charton said she had already booked her ticket back to France for Christmas and would not be afraid to sit at a roadside cafe in the city. “We should not be afraid, we must be strong,” she said.

An honorary representative of the French community in Ireland, Henry Le Perlier, who is an Irish citizen, said he appreciated the solidarity shown by so many Irish people in turning out for the march.

Alexandre Gessier, whose family lives in the west of Paris, said he was in a bar in Dublin on Friday night with friends when he heard of the shooting.

‘Watched in shock’

“There was football on the television. I asked them to put on the news and we watched in shock for a half an hour,” he said. “I have parents and friends in Paris, but fortunately they were OK.”

Mr Gessier was accompanied by Margaux Falala, who said she was worried about a couple who were due to be at the Bataclan Concert Hall on Friday night. “She is a girl from school, I have sent her a message but I have not heard from her,” she said.

Ms Falala said friends of the woman’s partner had not heard from him either. “We are worried we have not heard from either of them,” she said.

Victoria Laloum said her two sons are in Paris. She was on a 10-day holiday in Dublin at the recommendation of one of her sons, who was here in the summer. Ms Laloum had spoken to her children, who were safe and well, but now she said she just wanted to see them again.

Laura Grecourt from Lyons said she was in “a disco called Dicey’s” in Harcourt Street when she heard the news. “I have many friends in the Bastille area and I was concerned but they are OK,” she said.

“I feel safer in Dublin now,”said Manen Delforno. Her friend Chavla Ivanishvili said he had been contacting family in Paris since Friday night but all were well. “We know it might happen again. It is crazy,” he said.

‘Humanitarian gesture’

Rita Rock from Firhouse in Dublin said she was there “in sympathy, in a humanitarian gesture. I am a republican in the true meaning of the word,” she said.

Ralph Hurley O’Dwyer from Newbridge, Co Kildare, said he had spent a year in France and that the events of Friday had had a “profound effect” on him.

“I am worried about the far right and how they will use this,” he said.

There were few if any banners, no cat-calling and no whistles as the march made its way to Kildare Street.

At the gates of Leinster House, Ms Charton spoke briefly to the crowd in French, thanking them for turning out and urging them to be strong against terrorism. After a spontaneous, second singing of La Marseillaise, the crowd clapped and dispersed.