#prayforParis: Manchester shows its support for France in a silent vigil at Piccadilly Gardens
Text and images by Higor Boconcelo
Almost 500 people stood up in silence for a couple of hours last Sunday night at central Manchester, as a solidary homage for the 129 dead victims of the terrorist attacks that took place in Paris.
The gathering was set to start at Piccadilly Gardens from 6 pm, however by that time many had already gathered in a circle. In the center, a bunch of small candles were placed over the ground by the organisers, forming the French Revolution 3-word: Liberty, Equality and Fraternity.
It didn’t take a long time for more crowd to appear and gather around as well. As people begun to light up the candles, the others that were standing in the back made lights with their own cell phones, whilst most of them were carrying signs and French flags, waving them up quietly.
Two spokesmen then broke the silence and thanked the crowds presence, stating that those cowards actions against humanity won’t change the way they live and what they belive is right.
After that, the French anthem was sang by some of the people around, whose silence manage to stay still all over the square from the end of the song until the end of the supportive gathering.
“Its good to see that other people care”
Living in Manchester now, Manon Morand, Mi-Lan Ah Vouhn, Émeline Massari and Corentin Fricard are still shocked about the ongoing situation in their country. They come to the supporting event all together and got really impressed with the number of people that showed up last night.
“I was refusing to believe that something like this was happened to a city where I use to go and have a good time, and in such a area that people go in their weekends and its always full of different people”, said Émeline.
Two of them have friends and family in Paris, what made the situation way more scarier. “I just tried to ring everyone and check if they were ok, because I couldn’t stand the fact that all of them were near the bombing area”, Mi-Lan explains.
For them, being away from home in such a tragic situation can make things even harder. “One thing that is also difficult for me is that here I don’t have TV for example, and it was really confusing to get the right information about what was going on, because you can never know what is true or what is not at social media”, says Corentin.
Manon states that altough she was horrified, the terrosist strikes wasn’t surprising for her at all. “Since the last attacks in january (when the Charlie Hebdo magazine headquarters was bombed), I kinda knew that was just a matter of time until it happens again”, she says.
The students consider the supporting event in Manchester a great opportunity to show that everytime the terrorists try to destroy people or make them hate each other, it’s just make them get together and be stronger as a result.
“Being in France would be different, because you know that everyone around would be supportive, and being here I didn’t expect people to actually show up, show their support and be there for you, wich honestly is overwhelming and nice, and I think is the best response we could give them now”, Corentin states.