Crowds jeered the French Prime Minister as he arrived for a minute’s silence to remember victims of the attack in Nice, Sky News reports.Boos rang out as it emerged that confidence in the government to combat terrorism had plummeted to an all-time low.Prime Minister Manuel Valls joined thousands packing the seafront, close to the scene of the Bastille Day carnage.
With flowers in their hands, crowds stood on the rocky beach for a minute of silence in homage to the victims. But there were also placards in the crowd calling for President Francois Hollande to resign. And after the silence Mr Valls was booed again, with one woman heard to shout, “Resign, Manuel Valls!”.
A Nice resident, Isabel, who declined to give her surname, said she did not boo but understood why tensions are running high. “They want him (Mr Valls) to resign because he didn’t put enough police on on the day,” said the 60-year-old. “I was there (on Thursday) and didn’t see police.
“It’s terrible to say but we need a stronger prime minister with laws against radicalism.” The country is in its third day of national mourning in the wake of the truck attack, which killed 84 people at a fireworks display. Nice’s famous Promenade des Anglais, the scene of the attack, is strewn with flowers.
But it has been re-opened and is once again flooded with tourists. Several people are still listed as missing. So far, 35 bodies have been identified and 12 more are expected to be identified today. Some 85 people are still in hospital, with 49 in a serious condition. Eighteen of them – including one child – are in a critical condition.
EU foreign ministers have opened a summit in Brussels, also attended by US Secretary of State John Kerry. The talks will focus on the fight against terrorism in Europe in the wake of the attack, and relations with Turkey after a failed military coup. On Sunday, it emerged truck killer Mohamed Bouhlel sent a picture of himself laughing as he mingled with the crowd hours before the attack.
He also allegedly sent a text message “discussing weapons” prior to the massacre. French police are continuing their investigation with six people being questioned and one person under arrest. Bouhlel’s estranged wife, one of those held, has now been released.
Authorities are trying to determine if Bouhlel acted alone. But the French Prime Minister has said he had been radicalised quickly. Several people said Bouhlel showed signs of being religious, according to a judicial source.
But some of his friends and relatives have claimed he smoked, drank and never visited mosques. Islamic State has said the lorry driver was one of its “soldiers”. Officials have yet to produce evidence that Bouhlel had any links to IS.