Paris unites in defiant solidarity, then scatters in panic - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Paris unites in defiant solidarity, then scatters in panic

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PARIS (AP) -- Parisians are banding together in spontaneous celebrations of life in defiance of the recent attacks. But emotions were raw as the French capital entered three days of mourning for 129 people killed for their way of life.

The famed bells of Notre Dame cathedral pealed for 15 minutes Sunday in honor of the victims. But police sirens punctuated the melody.

At cafes targeted by extremist gunmen, and at the Republique Plaza in one of Paris' most vibrant neighborhoods, hundreds of people streamed in gradually throughout the afternoon to a makeshift tribute.

A huge banner draped at the bottom of the statue on the plaza reads: "Can't Scare Us."

But then suddenly a noise crackled. Police officers arrived, guns pointed, to investigate.

 Everyone ran in every which direction, crying and escaping by adjacent streets, emptying the huge plaza within minutes.

People tripped over flowers, candles and souvenirs left in tribute. They took refuge in a nearby hotel, a sports store, under cafe tables, park benches, behind trees.

But it turned out to be a false alarm. Apparently firecrackers triggered the panic.

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