Fans stay calm amid chilling atmosphere at Stade de France - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Fans stay calm amid chilling atmosphere at Stade de France

Posted:

PARIS (AP) -- As news of bloodshed filtered through the crowd and police sirens wailed outside, thousands of soccer fans milled around the Stade de France, reluctant to leave the seemingly safe stadium.

The spectators didn't panic, despite hearing the sounds of explosions from outside -- part of the carnage unfolding in the city that left dozens killed in multiple acts of violence. But there was plenty of unease and tension.

During the first half of France's soccer match against Germany on Friday, two explosions went off nearby. The first, at around 9:20 p.m., was a short and crisp bang.

"We heard them, but we thought they were home-made devices or fireworks," soccer fan Frederic Lavergne told The Associated Press as he left the stadium. "We had no idea at the time what it was."

The next "bang" followed only minutes later, clearly audible as it ripped through the chill air.

The noise inside the stadium was low at that point, since there was little excitement in the game, and the sounds of the sirens outside were loud and clear. So was the whirling sounds of the police helicopter buzzing overhead.

By the end of the match, which France won 2-0, the mood was one of silent contemplation as news filtered in through mobile phones and social networks relaying the carnage outside.

What would otherwise have been a celebration of France's win became a night of worry. Some people were still singing near the end, but for most a sickening feeling had taken over.

Moments after the referee had blown his final whistle, hundreds of fans started streaming onto the field. At first, match stewards in their fluorescent tops surely were confused by the commotion. But it was soon clear that the fans just wanted to go onto the field, rather than face going outside.

"We preferred to stay on the field, that's where we felt safest," Lavergne said. "We had difficulty understanding the explanations inside the stadium."

After a second public address announcement reassuring fans that it was safe to leave and to take public transport, fans started moving out.

France will host the European Championship next year, and Friday's match was one of a handful of games remaining for coach Didier Deschamps to test the national team before the tournament.

There will now be doubts as to whether it will be safe to host the tournament, with 24 teams involved in matches across the country.

  • InternationalMore>>

  • Pentagon: No civilian casualties in Syria strikes

    Pentagon: No civilian casualties in Syria strikes

    Thursday, April 19 2018 3:38 PM EDT2018-04-19 19:38:07 GMT
    Map locates OPWC publicly confirmed chemical weapon attacks since 2013; 2c x 4 1/2 inches; 96.3 mm x 114 mm;Map locates OPWC publicly confirmed chemical weapon attacks since 2013; 2c x 4 1/2 inches; 96.3 mm x 114 mm;
    The Pentagon says there have been no reports of civilian casualties from last week's missile strikes by the United States, France and Britain.More >>
    The Pentagon says there have been no reports of civilian casualties from last week's missile strikes by the United States, France and Britain.More >>
  • After Syria missile strikes, US stuck in holding pattern

    After Syria missile strikes, US stuck in holding pattern

    Thursday, April 19 2018 3:38 PM EDT2018-04-19 19:38:03 GMT
    The drama of U.S. and allied missiles strikes on Syria has obscured the fact that the U.S.-led campaign to eliminate the Islamic State from Syria has stalled.More >>
    The drama of U.S. and allied missiles strikes on Syria has obscured the fact that the U.S.-led campaign to eliminate the Islamic State from Syria has stalled.More >>
  • Trump leaves open possibility of bailing on meeting with Kim

    Trump leaves open possibility of bailing on meeting with Kim

    Thursday, April 19 2018 3:37 PM EDT2018-04-19 19:37:34 GMT
    (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky). Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, left, listens as President Donald Trump speaks during a news conference at Trump's private Mar-a-Lago club, Wednesday, April 18, 2018, in Palm Beach, Fla.(AP Photo/Lynne Sladky). Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, left, listens as President Donald Trump speaks during a news conference at Trump's private Mar-a-Lago club, Wednesday, April 18, 2018, in Palm Beach, Fla.
    President Donald Trump is leaving himself plenty of wiggle room when it comes to a summit with North Korea's leader, saying he will bail out of the meeting if he decides it won't produce results.More >>
    President Donald Trump is leaving himself plenty of wiggle room when it comes to a summit with North Korea's leader, saying he will bail out of the meeting if he decides it won't produce results.More >>
Powered by Frankly