The streets of Strasbourg were filled, then Tuesday night a man opened fire in the middle of the French city. Not only one of the largest christmas markets of Europe was underway, also the monthly plenary session of the European Parliament stood there on the planning.
Member of the european Parliament and of ships Hilde Vautmans from Sint-Truiden, belgium experienced the drama from the front row. ‘We are sitting with a group of forty Truienaren in a restaurant in Strasbourg,” she said Tuesday night in a conference call in response to The Interest of the province of Limburg. “They are here to visit. Today they have a parliament visited and they are a little to the christmas market. I get this time of the year to be more groups to visit. Tomorrow (Wednesday, red.) they would have the whole day to the christmas market.”
They got the news of the shooting from Belgium. “A few of our people have the shots heard’, is the response Vautmans. Just as it seemed or her group, the property would be allowed to leave, but quickly got Vautmans again message that they are still preventive inside had to remain. ‘We are now safe in a basement, but we are also a little scared. There is no cat on the street now.’ Only many hours later became Vautmans in her hotel.
Emmanuel Foulon, a fellow countryman who acts as spokesman in the European Parliament, heard the first gunshots from a restaurant at a stone’s throw of the place where the victims fell. ‘There was immediately a panic. People were lying on the ground. The theatre agents gave the order for doors and curtains closed to keep.’
‘The streets are empty’
At the time of the facts was a session of the European Parliament on the corridor. The building was closed. Mep Mark Demesmaeker (N-VA) at that time, was still at work. “We were told that an attack was underway and we certainly not could go out for everything was safe. Here broke no panic, but there was a concern about the fate of some colleagues. Luckily we were able to quickly reach.”
Peter van Dalen, a Dutch member of the European Parliament, described his experience via Twitter. “The soldiers give us instructions for coverage to continue. How this disaster is evolving, I don’t know, but I hear now that there are multiple deaths and injuries would be in the city. What a terrible thing. A black day with so much suffering. Horrible! Not to contain. The streets are empty, no one can go outside.’
“Saw a man running away’
Also member of European Parliament Richard Corbett was present at the monthly plenary session. “I’m in a restaurant and they leave here no one inside or outside,” he wrote via his social media. Several of his colleagues are among the residents and visitors of Strasbourg.
“The European Parliament has the noodprotocol activated and is currently in lockdown to the members of parliament to protect. Stay safe and within’, according to the Greek politician Eva Kaili on Twitter.
“I was my clients to serve. I heard a bang, and when I was going out to look, I saw a body lying down, blood-stained, ” said Jonathan, a waiter in a Straatsburgs restaurant, yesterday on the French news channel BFMTV. “And I saw a man running away with a weapon in his hand. He struck a street in which I have a number of shots heard. When I re-entered and I have the customers said that they were on the ground had to lie. One of them, a woman, said that her husband was that it was shot.’