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Demands for French PM Resignation, “Resign” Shouted during Nice Memorial Service | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve and Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian speak to journalists before leaving the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, July 18, 2016, Reuters

Paris- Denouncing rhetoric faced the French Prime Minister Manuel Valls as he attended a minute’s silence in Nice. Protesters shouted out “murderer” and “resign” at him before the minute’s silence, held across the nation. Thousands had come to participate at the memorial service of the 84 victims killed by the Nice terror lorry attack.

Many blame French President Hollande’s Socialist administration for not doing enough to prevent terrorism in the country that’s seen three major ISIS-inspired attacks in the past 18 months. Opposition politicians have been critical of the French government for not doing enough to tackle terrorism in the past year.

The incident highlighted how three days of national mourning have been overshadowed by an intensifying debate about whether the government has done enough to respond to terrorism.

At least 84 people were killed, 300 more receiving hospital treatment, when 31-year-old Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhle drove a lorry through crowds celebrating Bastille Day on Thursday night.

In the wake of the attack in Nice, former French President Nicolas Sarkozy has criticized the government for not doing enough to provide security.

The center-right opposition leader called for any foreign nationals with links to radical Islam to be expelled from France.

On the other hand, Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve refrained from getting involved in the rising controversy, however, said that the authorities did not at any moment display leniency or a slack in counterterrorism efforts.

Cazeneuve had also said Monday that a link between terrorist networks and the attacker who killed 84 people in the city of Nice had not yet been established.
French authorities announced that over 100,000 security men have been deployed to hold up French security.

On his part, Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said on Monday that French armed forces had struck ISIS group bases overnight, and that the battle against ISIS will continue in Syria and Iraq .

Valls and Cazenove also made a co-statement lauding the fruitful works and efforts of authorities, announcing that 16 terror attacks have been thwarted in France since 2013.

Nice attacker, Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel, a 31-year-old France resident born in Tunisia, had a history of threats, violence and theft had caused him several run-ins with the law previously but was not on the radar of French intelligence services.

“Those links, for the moment, have yet to be established by the investigation. So we must still be prudent with what we say on that subject,” Cazeneuve told French media.

Cazeneuve maintained that the attack was “of a terrorist nature,” despite the fact that the attacker, identified as Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel, gave no indication he was motivated by politics or religion.