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Macron presides over ceremony to honour victims of terrorism

French President Emmanuel Macron delivers a speech during a ceremony to honour victims of terrorism, on March 11, 2020 at the Esplanade du Trocadero in Paris, on France's first national day of tribute to the victims of terrorism.
French President Emmanuel Macron delivers a speech during a ceremony to honour victims of terrorism, on March 11, 2020 at the Esplanade du Trocadero in Paris, on France's first national day of tribute to the victims of terrorism. © Ludovic Marin / AFP

French President Emmanuel Macron and King Felipe VI of Spain paid homage on Wednesday to victims of terrorism in a special ceremony in Paris prompted by attacks that hit both their countries and changed Europe’s security posture. 

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President Macron joined Spain's King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia in a ceremony on Trocadero plaza overlooking the Eiffel Tower with survivors of terrorist attacks and families of victims.

The European Union chose March 11 as a day of continent-wide commemoration of terrorism victims after the Madrid train bombing on March 11, 2004 that killed nearly 200 people and woke Europe up to 21st-century threats of extremist violence.

Macron thanked the visiting Spanish royalty for “reminding us of the unbreakable link between our two nations”.

He paid tribute to the victims of a string of attacks in France, starting with shootings in 2012 that killed children at a Jewish school, a rabbi and paratroopers in the Toulouse region.

He said that the nation would not change its values, or “back down on our fighting spirit”.

The French president also cited the efforts of police, firefighters, emergency personnel, military, prefects, magistrates, and passersby who acted to fight or prosecute terrorists.

"If it were required again, they would do it again," he said.

Macron also announced that France would give families of the victims of terrorism the same benefits as families of fallen veterans.

"Terrorists kill blindly. We will save the names, we will remember the faces," he said.

Extremists claiming links to the Islamic State group or al-Qaeda hit France repeatedly in 2015 and 2016. Among their victims: cartoonists at satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, shoppers at a kosher market, concert-goers at the Bataclan, diners in Paris cafes, an elderly priest at the altar, holiday revelers on the seaside of Nice, and several police officers.

(FRANCE 24 with AP)

 

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