Paris & Beirut rally in Derry today as book of condolence opens

A young girl leaves a lit candle outside Le Carillon bar, Paris, one of the venues targeted in the attacks.
A young girl leaves a lit candle outside Le Carillon bar, Paris, one of the venues targeted in the attacks.

A rally will be staged in Derry this evening in solidarity with all those killed and wounded in France and Beirut over the past few days.

The Derry Anti-War Coalition is organising this evening’s rally at 6pm at Guildhall Square.

This follows a decision by Mayor of Derry and Strabane, Sinn Fein Councillor Elisha McCallion to open a book of condolence over the weekend.

Speaking as Parisians today tried to return to normality following the carnage visited on the city on Friday night, Mayor McCallion said:

“I think everyone is totally shocked and horrified at the scenes in Paris overnight and our thoughts and prayers are with all those affected by this devastating incident.

“The people of Derry and Strabane stand united with the people of Paris in friendship and solidarity as they try to come to terms with what has happened.

No Fee for reproduction''The Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Councillor Elisha McCallion who has opened a book of condolence, in the Guildhall in Derry, for the victims of the shootings in Paris. Picture Martin McKeown. Inpresspics.com 14.11.15

No Fee for reproduction''The Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Councillor Elisha McCallion who has opened a book of condolence, in the Guildhall in Derry, for the victims of the shootings in Paris. Picture Martin McKeown. Inpresspics.com 14.11.15

“The Books of Condolence at the Guildhall and Strabane will provide the local community with an opportunity to show their support for the people of France and I would encourage people to come along and show that we care.”

In a statement issued by the Derry Anti-War Coalition ahead of the vigil at the Guildhall this evening, a spokesman said: “The events in Paris on Friday night have shocked the world. Concert goers, people eating in restaurants, ordinary Parisians enjoying the start of the weekend were slaughtered.

“In Beirut on Thursday around 50 innocent people were murdered when bombs exploded in a residential suburb.

“In Syria, in Palestine and across the parts of the Middle East and Africa carnage like this is all too common.

“We are holding a solidarity rally in Derry at 6pm on Monday in Guildhall Square to stand with the people of Paris and Beirut. We ask the people of Derry to join us.

“The Derry Anti War Coalition wants to make it clear that actions of Islamic State can in no way be used to justify further military intervention in the Middle East. This group emerged after the illegal attack and occupation of Iraq by Western Powers. Continuing to bomb innocent people in the Middle East will not stop ‘ terrorism,’ but instead will continue to be a major cause of it.

“We also wish to make it clear that these attacks can in no way change our position on refugees. We still welcome them and we will resist all racism and Islamaphobia.

“The events in Paris and Beirut show what refugees are fleeing from not who they are. Closing the borders is wrong, scapegoating refugees is wrong. We must stay united.”