[WATCH] Sting reopens Paris’ Bataclan on anniversary of militant attack

Eagles of Death metal frontman Jesse Hughes refused entry at Sting concert to reopen venue where 89 died last year in massacre

A minute silence was observed ahead of the concert on the anniversary of the militant attack at Paris’ Bataclan hall
A minute silence was observed ahead of the concert on the anniversary of the militant attack at Paris’ Bataclan hall

 

British rock star Sting headlined a concert in Paris’ Bataclan music hall on Saturday to mark the venue’s reopening a year after three Islamic militants gunned down 89 people in France’s bloodiest terror attack.

Sting opened the emotionally charged gig with a minute's silence, telling the crowd: “We will not forget them.”

“Tonight we have two tasks to achieve: first to remember those who lost their lives in the attack, and then to celebrate life and music in this historic place,” Sting said, speaking in French, before starting his hour-long set.

Eagles of Death Metal frontman was reportedly turned away from the concern at the Bataclan, according to the venue’s management, who said he was “not welcome”. The American rock band were performing in the theatre on 13 November last year when it was attacked by Islamic extremist suicide bombers, who killed 89 people.

Earlier this year, Hughes apologised for suggesting that security guards were complicit in the attack. He told the Fox Business Network in March that six guards at the Bataclan never came to work on the night of the attack, and “it seems rather obvious that they had a reason not to show up”.

On November 13, 2015, jihadists from so-called Islamic State burst through the music hall's main entrance and sprayed automatic gunfire into the crowd.

During a more than two-hour long assault, the attackers executed some victims and took others hostage. The attack ended after one militant was shot dead and the two others killed themselves by detonating explosive vests.

In coordinated strikes that night, other gunmen and suicide bombers targeted a football stadium and several cafes in Paris. In all, the Islamic State militants killed 130 people.

The performer began with the song Fragile, singing: "Nothing comes from violence and nothing will."

Concert-goers, who began arriving hours before the performance took place, were in a defiant mood ahead of the show.

There was a heavy police presence outside the theatre, which is in the east of the city close to the Bastille, and revellers were searched more than once as they made their way in.

The Paris attacks prompted the government to impose a state of emergency, which remains in place, following attacks this summer in Nice and Normandy.

Writing in an opinion column published in several European newspapers on Saturday, Prime Minister Manuel Valls said the “heavy and constant threat” of more terror attacks hung over France, and urged Europe to strengthen its defense capabilities.

“And this is all the more so as the United States becomes less and less involved in the affairs of the world. Europe can no longer shirk its responsibilities and take refuge behind its American ally,” Valls wrote.

Adrien, a survivor of the Bataclan attack who lost two friends that night, said: “It was my duty to come, to remember those who died here.”

As the concert hall emptied, another concert-goer said: “Tonight was beautiful. He set the place alight and we forgot our fears.”

Sting will donate the proceeds from the show, which took place on the eve of the first anniversary of the attacks, to two survivors' charities.

“Long live the Bataclan,” Sting said as he left the stage.

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