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West Berkshire joins condemnation of Paris killings

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Local organisations call for solidarity

Local groups across West Berkshire have condemned the actions of militants linked to Islamic State who killed 129 people in seven separate attacks in Paris on Friday night.

Shortly after 9pm, gunmen launched attacks at the Stade de France before opening fire at downtown bars and restaurants, and taking hostages at the Bataclan concert hall where Amercian heavy metal band Eagles of Death Metal were performing.

A national state of emergency remains in place after the killings which left 129 people dead, most at the concert hall, and more wounded, some critically.

A minute silence was held around the world this morning (Monday) with local offices and homes observing the moment of quiet reflection at 11am.

In West Berkshire, ethnic minority group All2gether “strongly condemned” the violent attacks and offered solidarity against any form of extremism.

Director of All2gether Rajinder Sohpal said: “This further example of sheer carnage of ordinary people has no place in society anywhere and runs entirely against the spirit [of] followers of faith.

“The atrocities have been carried out by violent criminals who have no right to call themselves Muslims.”

Fellow director Ruwan Uduwerage Perera said: “In the face of this type of terror, there is always a risk of a minority of people using such tragedy to impose their own extremism.

“We call on all citizens and communities to reject extremism, and to embrace the diversity of our community of ordinary peace loving people.”

Newbury MP Richard Benyon took to Twitter following the attacks and said: “Numbed by Paris attacks.

“Cannot understand minds of those who plan, carry out or support such barbaric acts. France’s dignity so impressive.”

Answering fears of further attacks and calls for heightened security he told Newbury Weekly News: “There’s no evidence that there is any risk to people enjoying their evenings, going out to the cinema, or going to the pub in West Berkshire.

“If we were to become overly security conscious now we would be letting the terrorists win by making our lives miserable.

“We have got to be sensible, to think about reporting somebody acting suspiciously or by reporting a left bag.”

He added that security services in the UK had thwarted seven separate attacks and that it was in large urban areas such as London where security was crucial.

One tweet made by a Newbury teenager was also shared widely around the world, with tens of thousands of people “liking” or re-tweeting his comment.

19-year old Dan Holloway’s original tweet read: “To people blaming refugees for attacks in Paris tonight. Do you not realise these are the people the refugees are trying to run away from..?”

Have you or has someone you know been affected by or caught up in the atrocities in Paris? If so and you are willing to speak to a reporter, please get in touch via: william.walker@newburynews.co.uk

Image: Jean Jullien Studios

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