Francois Hollande to join Paris attacks commemorations at Bataclan


French President Francois Hollande will join a commemoration ceremony at the Bataclan concert hall to mark one year since the Paris terrorist attacks.

On November 13 last year, 89 people were killed in a massacre at the venue where Eagles Of Death Metal were performing, including Briton Nick Alexander.

Suicide bombers - Frenchmen Omar Ismail Mostefai, 29, Samy Amimour, 28, and Foued Mohamed-Aggad, 23 - stormed into the theatre while attackers also targeted cafes and the Stade de France. In total, 130 people died.

Mr Alexander had been on tour with the American band selling merchandise and tried to play dead when he was approached by one of the gunmen who opened fire.

After former Police frontman Sting re-opened the Bataclan on Saturday night, Mr Alexander's ex-girlfriend Helen Wilson said that while there were a couple of tears, she felt she had to hold it together for his family.

Speaking to BBC 5Live, she said: "You know what? It was amazing. I just feel so proud of myself, I am so happy to be here, I am so grateful to be alive, and I forgot that I like Sting.

"The only other artist I said that could have done this and done it well was Leonard Cohen."

She added: "There were a couple (of tears) but I have to be graceful and hold it together out of respect for Nick and his family.

"I don't like to upset them because I love them so much and it's just pure love. You feel a weight off your shoulders. It was the right thing to do to come here. It was very beautiful and peaceful.

"Music is my life. There are some things that it is difficult to listen to but you have to."

Ms Wilson said that following what happened she is now going to "rock this world".

She said: "The only way that you can get through any horrible thing or anything, any stress or any negative feeling or experience, is to go through it.

"You can't go around, you can't hide from it because it will come back, and if you can get through it like I did tonight and this past year then, let me tell you, you can get through anything. I am going to rock this world now."

Mr Hollande has unveiled a plaque covered by a small French flag at the national stadium in memory of the single person killed there, Manuel Dias, and those who were wounded.

He remained silent at the ceremony outside the Stade de France before going on to unveil plaques at the seven sites hit by the Islamic extremists.

Sunday's commemoration comes after Eagles of Death Metal frontman Jesse Hughes was turned away from Sting's concert at the venue after Bataclan management said he was "not welcome".

In the months after the massacre, Hughes provoked anger when he suggested Bataclan security staff were complicit in the attack and later apologised.

On the eve of the first anniversary of the atrocity, Sting, 65, re-opened the 150-year-old venue and Hughes was not allowed in, the Bataclan boss said.

A representative for the band reportedly branded the venue's version of events as "false".

Jules Frutos, manager of the theatre, said Hughes and his manager were turned away at the door.

Mr Frutos told the Press Association: "They tried to enter the venue and they are persona non grata. They are not welcome after what he said about the security."

Referring to Hughes, Mr Frutos said: "I mean, this man is just sick. That's all."

Mr Frutos said he thinks the band used what happened at the Bataclan to get "promotion", asking: "Who did know about this band before?"

He said the band's attitude shows "no respect for the victims". Mr Frutos said the frontman and his manager did not have tickets for Sting's concert.

The band's management said Hughes was in Paris with family, friends and fans to commemorate the "tragic loss of life that happened right in front of his eyes during his show".

Marc Pollack, of The MGMT Company, accused Mr Frutos of "tainting a wonderful opportunity that could've been used to spread peace and love".

"Jesse never even tried entering the club for Sting's show tonight," he told US magazine Billboard.

The Bataclan will play host to two gigs by Libertines frontman Pete Doherty, on Wednesday and Thursday, while Senegalese singer Youssou N'Dour will play on Friday and Saturday.