Leeds turns red, white and blue in poignant show of solidarity after Nice terror attack
Leeds Civic Hall and the First Direct Arena have been lit red, white and blue in tribute to the dead and the scores of seriously injured civilians mowed down by a terrorist who drove a lorry into Bastille Day revellers in Nice.
The culprit, who has since been named as 31-year-old Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel, swerved from side to side to kill as many people as possible as he drove for a mile along the Promenade des Anglais on the seafront of the city. He was shot dead by police after leaving a trail of destruction.
As France declared three day of national mourning, civic leaders in West Yorkshire were keen to stand in support of the French people following vigils held in the city to mark other recent tragedies in the country.
The premeditated attack comes months after terrorists killed 130 people in Paris in November and a further 17 people died during the Charlie Hebdo massacre in January 2015.
Coun Judith Blake, leader of Leeds City Council, responded to the tragic events in Nice on social media.
She tweeted: “Dreadful news from Nice. Impossible to express the shock and horror at the news. My thoughts are with everyone affected.”
In November people in Leeds gathered outside Leeds Town Hall in memory of the hundreds killed and wounded during the most recent Paris attacks, while Otley residents stood in the town’s market place in silent remembrance last year.
It followed a march in which around 150 people gathered outside Leeds Civic Hall holding banners displaying the phrase ‘Je Suis Charlie’ after the January 2015 attack on French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.
A Leeds vigil was timed to take place at the same time as the march, which saw chants of “Charlie, Charlie” and choruses of the French national anthem ring out across the city centre.
French president Francois Hollande, speaking prior to a vigil at Nice cathedral last night, said: “France is in tears. It is hurting but it is strong, and she will be strong, always stronger than the fanatics who wish to hurt us.”