A packed soccer stadium. A sold-out concert hall. Friday night revelers at popular Paris cafes.
The targets chosen by extremists for Friday night’s terrorist strikes have instilled both fear and defiance among the organizers of sporting, political and cultural events in the French capital and elsewhere. Many are reconsidering the wisdom of drawing crowds to public venues that may be in the gun sights of Islamic State as the militants threaten more attacks.
While caution is the watchword for the more vulnerable public spaces, many players, performers and politicians have boldly announced that their appearances will go on to show the terrorists that they can’t break the spirit of the Western societies they have attacked.
Most prominent among those standing up to the threats of further terrorist strikes were the leaders of the world’s most developed countries. President Obama, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, British Prime Minister David Cameron and the heads of state or government from other members of the Group of 20 met Sunday and Monday in the Turkish coastal city of Antalya.
Sylvain Perriot stops to take a picture of the flag at half mast above the Presidential Palace in Paris. France’s Sate of Emergency will continue, with flags at half mast.(Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)
Looking inside the courtyard of the Presidential Palace, guards stand at attention for the departure of Secretary of State John Kerry after his meeting with French President Francois Hollande.(Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)
On the third day of national mourning, the Eiffel Tower was illuminated in the colors of the French flag after going dark.(Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)
On the third day of national mourning, people continue to gather in public places like the Place de la Republique, including Tao Cisse, age 5, and Maya Sutej.(Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)
People observe a minute of silence in front of the Le Carillon cafe in Paris on Nov. 16, paying tribute to victims of the terror attacks.(Lionel Bonaventure / AFP/Getty Images)
Paris residents take part in a Nov. 16 moment of silence under the Eiffel Tower in observance of those who died during the terrorist attacks three days earlier.(Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)
French President Francois Hollande, center, stands with government officials to observe a minute of silence Nov. 16 at the Sorbonne University in Paris.(Stephane De Sakutin / AFP/Getty Images)
Members of the French Foreign Legion stand guard near the Eiffel Tower on Nov. 16.(Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)
A Paris shopkeeper stays inside Sunday as soldiers guard the street where she works.(Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)
A sign that reads ‘Not even afraid’ is draped on the statue on Republique plaza in Paris.(Ian Langsdon / European Pressphoto Agency)
Women run past French soldiers as panic spread through the streets of Paris when rumors spread of another possible terrorist attack, which turned out to be a car left running in the street.(Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)
French police have released a photo of Abdeslam Salah, a 26-year-old sought in connection with the Paris attacks.(National Police)
Prelates arrive to celebrate a Mass in memory of the attack victims at the Notre Dame cathedral.(LIONEL BONAVENTURE / AFP/Getty Images)
An emotional crowd gathers in front of Le Carillon restaurant.(Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)
The glasses and silverware remain on the table where bullets were fired at Cafe Bonne Biere.(Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)
Armed police stand guard Nov. 14 near the Eiffel Tower, which was kept dark in honor of those who died in the terrorist attacks.(Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)
Mourners place flowers and candles outside the Bataclan theater in Paris.(Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)
A woman is evacuated from the Bataclan theater after the shootings in Paris.(Thibault Camus / Associated Press)
People lie on the pavement near the Cafe Bonne Biere in Paris following a series of attacks.(ANTHONY DORFMANN / AFP/Getty Images)
Rescuers evacuate people following an attack in Paris, where there were also reports of an ongoing hostage crisis at a concert venue.(Kenzo Tribouillard / AFP/Getty Images)
A victim lays dead under a blanket outside the Bataclan theater in Paris.(Jerome Delay / AP)
Hundreds of people spilled onto the field of the Stade de France stadium after explosions were heard nearby during a match between the French and German national soccer teams.(Christophe Ena / Associated Press)
Although overshadowed by the carnage in Paris, where Islamic State militants claim responsibility for the attacks that killed 129 people, the G-20 summit provided momentum for a new diplomatic plan hatched in Vienna over the weekend that raises prospects for a negotiated end to Syria’s nearly 5-year-old civil war and a more coordinated effort to eradicate the terrorist networks operating out of the lawless country.
But for every show of strength in the face of potential danger, sponsors of other crowd-drawing events have called for reflection on the risks and consequences of gathering too many people in an open and exposed public space.
Here are some of the planned assemblies and the current thinking on whether they are on or off:
Soccer stars show resolve to deny a terrorist ‘win’
A European soccer match between France and England at London’s Wembley Stadium is a go for Tuesday, the English Football Assn. decided Monday after organizing tighter security and armed police at the entrance gates. Friday night’s terrorist strikes began with suicide bombings at Stade de France, where the German and French teams were playing, stirring fears that sports arenas are soft targets for terrorists. “The match tomorrow is going to have massive global significance,” association chief executive Martin Glenn told reporters. The teams must play and show solidarity, he said, “to demonstrate that terrorism won’t win.” Prince William and London Mayor Boris Johnson have announced that they will attend.
Czech authorities have decided to go forward with public celebrations of the Nov. 17, 1989, Velvet Revolution that freed Czechoslovakia from the communist yoke. Tens of thousands are expected at Wenceslas Square and other baroque landmarks of Prague, where a nonviolent rebellion culminated in an end to one-party rule and Soviet domination. Security has been bolstered at airports, shopping centers, military installations and central Prague venues of the watershed revolt 26 years ago.
A time for respect over rivalry
European Professional Club Rugby announced Monday that all five Challenge Cup and Champion Cup matches scheduled in France next weekend were being postponed “as a mark of respect” for the victims of the Paris attacks. Matches outside France will go on as scheduled but begin with a moment of silence in memory of those killed in Friday’s attacks, the association announced.
An atmosphere of determination
French President Francois Hollande said Monday that a key climate conference in the French capital will convene in spite of the horrific terrorist attacks on Friday. The Nov. 30 gathering of the United Nations Climate Change Conference is expected to draw 50,000 participants to Paris. Hollande said conference had to go ahead “to show that the world must stay united against terrorism.”
Paris, one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations, reopened its famous museums and monuments to visitors on Monday after closures dictated by the Friday night violence. The Louvre, the Paris Opera and the Eiffel Tower were back in business three days after the attacks, the latter illuminated in the blue-white-and-red blocks of the tricolor. Cultural monuments worldwide similarly lighted up in the French flag’s colors in solidarity, including Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate, the Sydney Opera House and the Christ the Redeemer statue overlooking Rio de Janeiro.
But the music won’t play
Eagles of Death Metal, the California band that was playing at the Bataclan theater in Paris when terrorists infiltrated and randomly shot to death 89 people, has postponed the remaining 21 concert dates of a European tour that was due to run through Dec. 10, its record company, Universal Music, has announced. Scheduled concerts by U2, Foo Fighters, Delftones and Rudimental have also been postponed or canceled. Eagles of Death Metal merchandiser Nick Alexander and three employees of Universal Music France were among the dead at the Bataclan theater.
More caution in protecting the young
The Vatican is reconsidering plans to bring more than 2 million young Roman Catholics to the World Youth Day meeting with Pope Francis in Krakow, Poland, in July. Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, archbishop of Krakow, said Monday that the Catholic hierarchy “is worried because the events in Paris have shown that peace and security in Europe are threatened.” The archbishop expressed the hope, though, that European and U.S. officials can ensure sufficient security by the time of the July 25-31 convocation for the massive event to go on.
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