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Thousands turn out for tribute to former French president Jacques Chirac

His coffin was on display in Paris ahead of Monday’s funeral.

People queue at the Invalides monument to pay their respects to late French President Jacques Chirac (Francois Mori/AP)
People queue at the Invalides monument to pay their respects to late French President Jacques Chirac (Francois Mori/AP)

By Associated Press Reporter

Thousands of mourners have paid tribute to Jacques Chirac after the former French president died at the age of 86.

Mr Chirac was lying in state inside the Invalides monument in Paris, where France honours its heroes, after he died on Thursday.

His coffin was draped in the French flag under a large, smiling picture of the ex-president.

The coffin of Jacques Chirac (Kamil Zihnioglu/AP)

A booklet prepared by his family was handed to those who came to the Invalides.

Titled “Chirac in his own words”, it includes some quotes evoking key moments of his presidency, like when he opposed the US invasion of Iraq in 2003, saying: “War is always the worst of all solutions.”

Mr Chirac was also the first French president to acknowledge France’s role in the Holocaust in 1995.

Remy Clovel came from Paris’s western suburb of Saint-Germain-en-Laye to pay his respects.

“I have Jewish origins, so it’s important for us that he (Chirac) acknowledged the responsibility of the French state in the persecution of Jews during the Second World War,” he said.

Queues at the Invalides monument (Kamil Zihnioglu/AP)

Nicole Pats from Boulogne-Billancourt, west of Paris, recalled Mr Chirac as “a simple man”, adding: “He watched you, smiled at you and he loved you. We had the impression (that we belonged) to his family.”

Yolaine Mongole, from La Reunion island, said she “always admired the man. He was, popular, warm and accessible”.

A memorial service is planned for Monday in Paris. It will be attended by President Emmanuel Macron and about 30 former or current heads of states and government, including Russian President Vladimir Putin.

A private funeral will take place later in the day at the Montparnasse cemetery in Paris.

Mr Chirac served as Paris mayor, a legislator, prime minister and France’s president from 1995 to 2007.



From Belfast Telegraph