Paris's Bataclan music hall to reopen by end of this year

AFP | File shot of the Bataclan concert hall, where jihadists killed 90 people on November 13, 2015.

The owners of the Bataclan concert hall in Paris, where 89 people were massacred by jihadists as part of the November 13 attacks, said on Thursday that they hope to host music shows again before the end of the year.


The Bataclan's distinctive 19th century Chinoiserie-style building has been shuttered since a series of attacks across Paris that left 130 people dead and 350 others wounded.

"We'll do our best to host events before the end of 2016," the club owners said in a statement on Wednesday.

The Bataclan, in Paris's 11th arrondissement (district) near the Place de la République, was one of the capital's top venues for live music before the attacks. In the months since, dignitaries and international music stars – including US President Barack Obama, U2 and Madonna – have laid flowers there to honour the attack victims.

The reopening of the famed music hall has been in the works since December, when Olivier Poubelle and Jules Frutos, who own 30% of the venue, told French daily Le Monde that they were determined to see the Bataclan brought back to life.

Survivor’s guilt

Nearly three months after the attack, survivors are still recovering from the physical and emotions wounds of that fateful night, when jihadists from the Islamic State (IS) group stormed a concert by the US band, Eagles of Death Metal.

Frutos and Poubelle also suffered from survivor’s guilt, they told Le Monde shortly after the attacks. "An emergency worker told me 'You're not responsible', but still ...” Poubelle explained. “Two of our colleagues are dead, as are music professionals that we knew well. Others are seriously injured. I was not in the theatre and I think about that all the time.”

Poubelle said he rushed to the venue when the news first broke late on November 13.

"There were dead and injured all around," he told Le Monde. "[The police] wanted to know the layout and what they were going to find behind the door, how to get upstairs as quickly as possible."

Audience used as human shields

Chilling details of the Bataclan assault emerged a month after the attack, when information from a judicial enquiry leaked to France's Le Figaro newspaper suggested a deliberate plan by three jihadists to target the band, whose members fled the stage at the start of the shooting.

“Where is the singer? Where are the Yanks?”, the attackers reportedly screamed as they fired their Kalashnikov rifles into the audience, killing 89 people. Another person was killed by a stray bullet, bringing the attack's death toll to 90.

Referring to French and US military operations against IS group militants in Syria, the gunmen told petrified spectators: “You are bombing with the Americans, so we are targeting you and the Americans."

The attackers “spoke between them in Arabic and to their victims in French”, according to survivors, many of whom lay on the ground playing dead to escape the carnage.

They ordered some of the spectators to stand at the doors and windows, using them as human shields as police launched a raid on the venue. 

(FRANCE 24 with AP)

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