Paris responds to tragedy with silent respect and defiance

Story highlights

  • On Sunday night, a crowd panicked and ran through the streets
  • Parisians gathered Monday for a minute's silence to honor attack victims

Paris (CNN)Parisians responded to Friday night's terror attacks with moments of respectful silence and messages of defiance and anger. But there also was fear, with a scene of panic on the streets.

Throughout the city, memorials big and small popped up, from a 4-year-old's note that said "I'm thinking of you" to mounds of flowers at spots where the terrorists gunned down concertgoers, diners and people on the street. Photos of victims were pasted to walls.
    "We are unable to sleep," said Issa Feradj, a florist, in explaining why so many people have turned out to honor the dead. "We are thinking of only this. We're talking only of this."
    He went into his shop and returned with a photo of Nohemi Gonzalez, a 23-year-old American killed outside a restaurant.
    "I got this to show my children, to explain to them that anyone can be killed. She's just the age of my daughter."
    The city fell silent Monday as people gathered to pay their respects with a minute of silence.
    Many assembled at the Bataclan theater, the scene of the highest number of casualties, where three attackers massacred at least 89 people before blowing themselves up or being shot by police.
    CNN spoke to some of those who attended the tribute in front of the music venue.
    Anthony Kenigsberg attends the minute's silence in front of Bataclan Theater.
    "I feel sad, but not surprised," said Anthony Kenigsberg. "Daesh (another name for ISIS) threatened France, we knew this would happen eventually. I am proud of the French people, and especially of the Muslim community and how everyone stands united.
    "Only this time, this unity must last, unlike after the Charlie Hebdo attacks. We are united in solidarity and tolerance."
    Members of the public attend a minute's silence in front of Bataclan Theater.
    Sultana Malka said: "Even though I've tried to limit the news, my kids are traumatized. They don't understand what is happening. Now we need to stand strong -- the French must not be scared."
    Members of the public gather outside the Bataclan Theater in Paris.
    "I feel tired and angry," said Charlene. "I feel powerless. We work nearby, we are here every day and now there is this apocalyptic scene with all the press from around the world."
    Members of the public attend a minute's silence in front of Bataclan Theater.
    "This is deja vu," Myrtille said. "It's just like what we saw after Charlie Hebdo.
    "But this time, in one way or another, we are all victims since people miles away from Paris witnessed the Stade bombings on live TV."
    She added: "And honestly I don't know if the military response is the right one."
    On Sunday night, the mood differed sharply at a memorial on Avenue de la Republique.
    The crowd panicked. Hundreds of people bolted and ran through the streets screaming, CNN video showed. Some trampled over the the mound of flowers piled on the sidewalk.
    "I was in the bathroom and this person came screaming through, threw her books down, locked herself in the stall and said, 'There's a shooter out there,' " said CNN's Christiane Amanpour.
    There was not a shooter. The cause of the stampede has not been determined.
    People in France shared their feelings on social media, including Antoine Leiris, whose wife was killed in the attacks. His posting on Facebook was widely shared.
    "I will not give you the privilege of hating you. You certainly sought it, but replying to hatred with anger would be giving in to the same ignorance which made you into what you are. You want me to be frightened, that I should look into the eyes of my fellow citizens with distrust, that I sacrifice my freedom for security. You lost. I will carry on as before.
    "There are only two of us, my son and I, but we are stronger than all the armies of the world. Moreover, I have no more time to grant you, I must go to Melvil who is waking up from his nap. He is just 17 months old, he will eat his snack like every day, then we will play like every day and every day of his life this little boy will affront you by being happy and free. Because you will not have his hatred either."