After the Bastille Day Attack: Residents Outraged Over Lack of Security
"We're sitting ducks here," says resident Carole Raphaelle Davis about lax security in the city.
As the world’s press descends on Nice following the Bastille Day terror attack, they are being kept away from the scene and placed into a secure area, resident Carole Raphaelle Davis told The Hollywood Reporter.
“They’ve put all the press in one area and it’s really far from the scene,” Davis said of a pen across from Jardin Albert I where up to 1,000 reporters have been placed. “Not only are they not getting anywhere near [the scene], they are not getting the story. They’re reporting what the press conferences are giving them.”
The area where the attack took place, which is just steps from her home, has been cordoned off by visibility barricades and residents are banned from going near. “You can see the truck, but you can’t see anything else. We don’t know what is left there.”
The Going the Distance actress and animal rights activist, who splits her time between Los Angeles and Nice, spent the day talking to neighbors and locals who are “shellshocked” and angry.
“Absolute shock. People are walking around like zombies and crying. No Nicoise slept last night, not one,” she said.
“Right under that is enormous anger at the government because no one has been given an explanation of why they didn’t secure this tiny area,” she said, noting that the road is comparable to about eight New York City blocks.
The city, which hosted matches for the Euro Cup at its stadium and a fan zone in the Place Massena, had extensive security for those events, which concluded Sunday. “This had an equally large crowd and they could have easily barricaded off the area with security, SWAT teams, police vans and checked bags like they did for the Euro Cup. What were they thinking? People are so angry.”
The city instituted a curfew last night and residents were under strict orders not to leave their homes, which was lifted today.
It’s the latest terror incident to rock France following last January’s attack on the offices of newspaper Charlie Hebdo and last November’s attack centered around an Eagles of Death Metal concert in Paris, and Davis fears the incident will be politicized in next year’s elections.
The Muslim population of Nice, which is integrated into the town and not relegated to rough suburbs like in Paris, are afraid of the repercussions following what appears to be a 'lone-wolf' attack.
“They are afraid of the backlash, because they are going to get it,” Davis said, pointing out the Nice is the center of the very conservative Alpes-Maritimes state, which voted 39 percent for the Front National in last year’s regional primaries. Nice mayor Christian Estrosi is a member of former president Nicolas Sarkozy's conservative Republican party.
Nice itself has a small-town feel and has roughly the same population as Santa Barbara. “It’s a beach town. Everybody knows everybody. It’s a friendly town. You talk to strangers here,” she said.
Lamenting that because of this vibe, police had not taken security seriously, she added: “Unfortunately, I feel like we’re sitting ducks here.”