#SprayForParis: Artists colour French walls blue, white and red

  • Prasun Sonwalkar, Hindustan Times, Paris
  • Updated: Nov 20, 2015 08:54 IST
Graffiti artists painted French streets with messages of solidarity after Paris attacks that killed more than 130. (Picture courtesy: Twitter)

Graffiti artists in Paris and other French cities responded creatively to last Friday’s terror attacks, while Prime Minister Manuel Valls went on television on Thursday evening to say that the country now faced a ‘permanent threat’ from terrorism.

Several public walls in Paris and elsewhere bore new graffiti by artists, who spread their work through the social media with the hashtag #SprayForParis. One artwork in the Menilmontant neighbourhood in Paris had the Latin words, ‘Fluctuat nec mergitur’ (‘Battered by the floods but not sunk’).

A painting near the iconic Place de la Republique had the words in large letters, ‘Paris je t’aime’ (‘Paris I love you’). Similar artwork was reported from several places in France and elsewhere in Europe, spread across the social media.

After experts confirmed that Abdelhamid Abaaoud –- said to be the mastermind of Friday’s attacks that killed more than 130 people -– was killed in Wednesday’s raid in the suburb of Saint-Denis, Prime Minister Valls went on television to expound on the new realities in France.

Stating that France now faced a “permanent threat” from terrorism, he said: “The threat is still very present, at this moment as the investigation is still ongoing, we don’t know if there are groups, or individuals directly linked to Paris attacks on Friday evening, to Saint Denis, we still don’t know if there are still active groups.”

“We can imagine there are and that is the reason the threat is still present and this threat is going to be long and permanent and this is the reason of our strong response to fight this war,” he said, adding that “there is no such thing as zero risk”.

Valls said an inquiry would look into how Abaaoud had managed to enter France from Syria.

“One can always cross borders. There are no sealed borders nor zero risk. We have to do everything we can to protect our borders and each country must play it’s role... We are a people standing on our feet... a sacred unity is necessary and is the greatest response faced with war,” he said.

Le Carillon, the Paris restaurant where 15 people were killed on Friday, put a note on its door expressing condolences to the victims’ families and asking people to stay united in grief but also in hope.

It said: “We wish to present our sincere condolences and express our solidarity with all the families of the victims, their loved ones and all of you dear friends and regulars who have for the past 40 years been the soul of this place. Under shock, we have not said anything until now and how can one find words at such a time, but all of our thoughts since Friday have been for those of you who have lost someone dear. Thank you for your touching support. Courage to you all, let us stay united in our grief but also in the hope of happier and always fraternal days”.

Nearly 500 people gathered on Thursday evening at the Stade de France -- another site targeted on Friday -- to pay respects to those killed in an event led by Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo and Saint-Denis mayor Didier Paillard.

A visibly moved Paillard-led the gathering to a minute’s silence, followed by a rendition of the French national anthem ‘La Marseilles.’

(From L) Aubervilliers mayor Pascal Beaudet, Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo, former Saint-Denis mayor Patrick Braouezec and current Saint-Denis mayor Didier Paillard arrive to attend a homage ceremony outside Paris. (AFP Photo)

Paillard said, “We will try together to overcome the fear. The fear exists, but the thing is to see what makes people have more or less fear. I think it is when we are together, when we have a project together, when we argue together, when we live together that we show we don’t have anymore fear.”

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