First modification: 07/14/2021 – 18:03
This Wednesday, July 14, marks the fifth anniversary of the terrorist attack with a truck in Nice, whose indiscriminate abuse killed 86 people and left more than 400 injured. During the 2016 Bastille Day celebrations, an attacker ran over a crowd of people on the city’s main waterfront.
This Wednesday, July 14, along with the celebrations of France’s national day, Bastille Day, the nation also commemorates the anniversary of the first five years of one of the worst attacks that its population has experienced.
That summer night, many people came to the Paseo de los Ingleses, in Nice, to enjoy the fireworks on the seafront. A show that ended up being the last that 86 of the people gathered there would see.
Thousands of citizens were surrounded by friends, family and music when an attacker, later identified as Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel, lunged into the crowd behind the wheel of a 16-ton truck and continued to advance for approximately two kilometers and two minutes.
Later, when the police had already shot him down, it was discovered that the attacker was motivated by jihadist propaganda and fundamentalist ideology. Of the people whose lives he took, 15 were minors and one of them was a two-year-old baby.
The event marked the history of the city, as well as the Bastille Day celebrations in the city. After the attack, many citizens still cannot bear the sound of fireworks, shy away from crowds or have traumas with trucks.
In recent years, visits to mental health professionals have increased in Nice. Many of the 30,000 people who were at the scene during the terrorist attack, both minors and adults, have needed psychological support.
“Five years later, we still have patients who have recurring nightmares with memories of the attack,” Florence Askenazy, director of the service at the Lenval Hospital in Nice, told the AFP news agency.
The memory and commemoration of the victims of Nice
This Wednesday 86 white doves will be released in memory of the victims. The act of commemoration, already common at this time, will be held around the monument dedicated to the deceased: a fountain in a garden away from the promenade, where it cannot cause discomfort among the relatives and friends of those who are no longer there.
This 2021, the guest of honor at the ceremony is the French Prime Minister, Jean Castex, who is in Nice to pay tribute to those affected. The politician will attend the event with family members and the mayor of the city, Christian Estrosi.
Also to remember the deceased, a concert will be held and at 10:34 p.m. – the exact time of the attack – the city on the shores of the Mediterranean will turn on 86 lights for each of those killed in the attack.
The traumas resulting from that fateful night still haunt many. For this reason, the Government has compensated about 2,000 people related to the event with a total of 83 million euros. Approximately 400 people are still waiting for their compensation, because their medical diagnosis is not closed.
However, the money is not enough for those affected, who are demanding justice. Some accuse the slowness of the judicial process, since the trial of those involved is not scheduled until November 2022 and the investigations into whether there was any negligence or not on the part of the security, in charge of the local authorities, are stalled.
There is also strong disagreement among the families and friends of the victims on issues such as the location of the memorials.
“Personally, I wanted (the memorial) to be on the waterfront. Why put it somewhere else? There was a massacre along two kilometers, so put it in the center,” said Bruno Razahostimo, who lost his wife Mino in the attack.
Five years later, there are still many doubts about how a man could get to the seafront with a truck of this size while France was on high alert after having suffered several deadly attacks at the hands of cells of the so-called Islamic State.
A possible negligence that only exacerbates the uneasiness of the neighbors. Last October, Nice experienced another attack in which three people were stabbed to death, something that aroused fear among those affected by the 2016 attack. Many, such as Thierry Vimal, mother of one of the victims, say that five years later from the attack, they still can’t rest.
With AFP and local media