The truck plowed into the crowd. Bodies flew through the air, remembers a survivor of the terrorist attack in Nice iRADIO

Pain, desire for justice and a new beginning. Such feelings are now mixed among the families of the victims after the terrorist attack in Nice in 2016. Mohamed Bouhlel, a Frenchman of Tunisian origin, drove a truck onto the English Promenade there and killed 86 people. He injured hundreds more. After a few minutes, he was shot dead by the police. Dozens of witnesses, lawyers and victims took part in the first day of the trial in the Paris Palace of Justice.



From a reporter on the ground
Paris
8:36 am September 6, 2022

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The truck with which the attacker drove into the celebrating people in Nice | Source: Reuters

For six years, the families of the victims waited for this moment. For them, the opening of the main trial means a painful return in time.

“The truck plowed into the crowd,” survivors of the Nice terror attack recalled. Martin Balucha filmed on location

“In the distance we saw a truck approaching quickly. Everyone shouted that it was an assassination. I’m not from Nice, so I didn’t know that trucks weren’t allowed to enter there. I thought the driver lost control. But it wasn’t like that,” Laurence describes for Radiožurnál.

“The truck rammed into the crowd. I had to decide whether to jump left or right. Someone pulled my hair and the truck passed us. Behind me, I saw bodies and strollers flying through the air,” she recalls.

Laurence with his daughter | Photo: Martin Balucha | Source: Czech Radio

He has a tattoo of a red poppy on his shoulder, a little lower, a picture of cherries under his collarbone. He wears an accreditation with a green ribbon around his neck. This means that she wants to talk about what she experienced six years ago on the English Promenade in Nice. Other victims and participants in the assassination who do not want to talk to journalists have a red ribbon card.

“I was on sick leave for a long time. I had depression. I used to be very cheerful and worked with handicapped children. A therapeutic method known as EMDR, which is used in the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder, helped me a lot. I also had psoriasis on 80 percent of my body,” she adds.

‘Historical Process’

Seven defendants who helped the attacker get a weapon, secure a truck or who may have known about his radicalization stood before the court in Paris. They face sentences ranging from five years to life in prison. Since the attacker is now dead, it is possible that the other defendants will not receive as heavy sentences as some survivors would like.


In France, the trial begins with the accomplices of the terrorist attack in Nice, where the attacker killed 86 people

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“The purpose of the trial is to bring people who are now at the level of revenge for an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, to a just verdict. It’s not about revenge, it’s about punishment. If lawyers and journalists do their job well, tell and explain, then the situation will be corrected,” believes Antoine Casubolo Ferro, who represents several victims and survivors.

According to him, this is a historical process, because never in post-war French history has a single person killed so many people at once.

The artist Célia also lost her loved ones on the promenade in Nice: “I was studying in Belgium at the time. It was the first year that I didn’t go to Nice to see our family. My father called me right after the truck drove down the promenade. The mother died in the assassination. Dad’s truck ran over his ankle.’

Célia slowly walks into the main hall, where the victims’ families and relatives are already gathered. To a hall that already remembers so much suffering. Only two months ago, the trial of the bombers from the Bataclan music club in Paris ended there.

The main hall of the courthouse before the start of the main trial | Photo: Martin Balucha | Source: Czech Radio

Martin Balucha

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The article is in Czech &&

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