French President Francois Hollande appeared on national TV while terrorist attacks were still underway in Paris to explain the steps his government was taking.
More than 100 people are believed dead in the attacks, which happened over five locations including at a concert venue where hostages were taken and shot one by one, before the hall was stormed by special forces and the gunmen were shot dead.
Hollande took the unprecedented step of closing the French borders to prevent any attackers escaping and declared a state of emergency for the whole country.
Here is Hollande’s speech:
As I speak, terrorist attacks of unprecedented proportions are underway in the Paris area. There are dozens killed, there are many injured. It is a horror.
We have, on my decision, mobilised all forces possible to neutralise the terrorists and make all concerned areas safe. I have also asked for military reinforcements. They are currently in the Paris area, to ensure that no new attack can take place. I have also called a cabinet meeting that will be held in a few minutes.
Two decisions will be taken: a state of emergency will be declared, which means that some places will be closed, traffic may be banned, and there will also be searches which may be decided throughout Ile de France (greater Paris). The state of emergency will be proclaimed throughout the territory (of France).
The second decision I have made is to close the borders. We must ensure that no one enters to commit any crimes and that those who have committed the crimes that we have unfortunately seen can also be arrested if they should leave the territory.
This is a terrible ordeal which once again assails us. We know where it comes from, who these criminals are, who these terrorists are.
In these difficult moments, we must – and I’m thinking of the many victims, their families and the injured – show compassion and solidarity. But we must also show unity and calm.
Faced with terror, France must be strong, it must be great and the state authorities must be firm. We will be.
We must also call on everyone to be responsible.
What the terrorists want is to scare us and fill us with dread. There is indeed reason to be afraid. There is dread, but in the face of this dread, there is a nation that knows how to defend itself, that knows how to mobilise its forces and, once again, will defeat the terrorists.
French citizens, we have not completed the operations. There are still some that are extremely difficult. It’s at this moment that the security forces are staging an assault, especially in a place in Paris.
I ask you to keep all your trust in what we can do with the security forces to protect our nation from terrorist acts.
Long live the Republic. Long live France.