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Nice terror attack: Manuel Valls booed at memorial service to victims on Promenade des Anglais

Author: Caroline Mortimer @cjmortimer
Publication: Independent.
Date: July 18, 2016
URL:   http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/nice-terror-attack-francois-hollande-manuel-valls-memorial-service-victims-promenade-des-anglais-a7142376.html

Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel killed 84 people in the third terror attack to hit France in 18 months

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls has been booed at memorial service to remember the victims of the Nice terror attack.

Mr Valls was booed as he went to sign the book of condolence at the memorial service on the Promenade des Anglais.

Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel killed at least 84 people and injured hundreds of others as he rammed a 19-tonne lorry into the crowd at the Bastille Day celebrations on Thursday night.

The 31-year-old zigzagged through the crowd in a bid to cause maximum casualties and was shot dead by police after he pulled out a gun and opened fire.

Families of the dead and some of those injured gathered at the site of the massacre to remember the victims at the Moment du Centenaire in a park on the street.

Mr Valls attended the service alongside the Mayor of Nice, Philippe Pradal, the regional president Christian Estrosi and the reigning prince of nearby Monaco, Prince Albert.

The crowd cheered to celebrate the work of the emergency services. They broke in applause and raised their fists in the air when they heard the French national anthem

Tensions are running high over the French government's handling of security in the country when it was revealed Mr Estrosi's request for more security at the event was denied despite France being in a state of emergency stemming from the Paris attacks in November.

Many blame President Francois Hollande's Socialist administration for falling to prevent the three major Isis-inspired terror attacks on French soil in the past 18 months which have now killed more than 200 people.

Mr Hollande and Mr Valls were also booed and jeered at by onlookers on Friday when they visited the site of the attack on the promenade with Mr Estrosi.

Local resident Isabel, who declined to give her surname, said she did not boo but understood why tensions are running high.

She said: "They want him (Mr Valls) to resign because he didn't put enough police on on the day. I was there (on Thursday) and didn't see police.

"It's terrible to say but we need a stronger prime minister with laws against radicalism.

"I am very sad. It has broken families apart for nothing."

Local residents are also frustrated at the slow speed that victims are being identified.

Currently only 35 out of the 84 victims have been identified so far and there are a number of children in hospital whose identities cannot be verified as it is fear their parents died in the attack.

Bouhlel was not known to security services but was a known criminal with a history of violent offences and mental health problems.

It is believed he was radicalised "very recently" by an Algerian member of Isis and was not known as a devout Muslim.

Thousands gathered at the spot where the attack happened with bunches of flowers and candles left on the seaside promenade.

Additional reporting by agencies
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