On Nice’s Riviera, Signs of Normal Returning After Attacks

On Nice’s Riviera, Signs of Normal Returning After Attacks
People ride bicycles along the Promenade des Anglais in Nice, southern France, Tuesday, July 19, 2016. (AP Photo/Claude Paris)
The Associated Press

NICE, France—Joggers, cyclists and sun-seekers are back on Nice’s famed Riviera coast as signs of normal life return to the city’s famous Promenade des Anglais, where dozens were killed in last week’s Bastille Day truck attack.

Under a blazing sun, there were few visible reminders Tuesday of the July 14 carnage, save for a handful of flags flying at half-staff and a number of armed soldiers patrolling the promenade.

Some of Nice’s beachside restaurants reopened for business, and the final section of the road was set to reopen to traffic following three days of official mourning.

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Nice resident Clare Spencer was determined to reclaim the city for its residents and tourists and rejected the attempt of extremists to instill fear.

“They will not take the promenade away from us,” she said. “They will not win, the evil ones...The people are back. They are in the restaurants and on the beach.”

Late Monday evening, mourners formed a human chain to remove candles, flowers and other mementos honoring the victims of the attack, in which Tunisian Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel drove a truck through crowds watching fireworks. Volunteers moved the tributes from the spots where victims fell to a gazebo in a seaside park.

Eighty-four people were killed in the attack. Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said Monday that 59 people were still hospitalized, 29 of them in intensive care.

Paris prosecutor Francois Molins, who oversees terrorism investigations, said a search of Bouhlel’s computer had found a clear, recent interest in “radical jihadism,” adding that the attack was obviously premeditated though there was no proof that Bouhlel was directed by an extremist network.

Internet searches on his computer included Islamic propaganda chants, the term “horrible deadly accidents,” and stories on the recent attacks against a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, on police officers in Dallas, and the killing of two police officials in Magnanville, outside of Paris.

Prime Minister Manuel Valls was loudly booed Monday as he came to a memorial ceremony on the Nice shore, an expression of widespread criticism of the government’s security measures.

On Tuesday, French lawmakers are expected to debate whether the country’s state of emergency should be extended for another three months.

Meanwhile, a mosque in the eastern Nice suburb of Ariane held prayers Tuesday for three of those killed in the truck attack, including 4-year-old Kylan Mejri and his mother, Olfa Kalfallah, 31.

Mourners rallied around Kylan’s father, Tahar, who spoke of his grief at losing his son and wife in the attack. The imam invoked France’s founding principles of liberty, equality and fraternity before members of the community filed past the three coffins and offered their condolences to the father.

Also Tuesday, Germany’s foreign minister said two students and a teacher from a Berlin school were killed in the attacks. Another student was injured and continues to receive treatment.

“This terrible attack shows that terror is directed against everyone without distinction,” said Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier.