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In The Midst Of A Violent Morning, Parisians Seek To Cope

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

We are going to break away now for a few moments from those fast-moving events in the Paris area to get a wider view from one of France's leading journalist. Sylvie Kauffmann is editorial director of the publication Le Monde. And, as you've heard, Sylvie - she's joining us right now - as you've heard, the two hostage situations that are changing rapidly, coming to some sort of - it sounds like - a head here. Let me begin with you. Even though we're in the middle of an ongoing drama, what is the mood there in Paris today with all this happening?

SYLVIE KAUFFMANN: Well, as you can imagine, it's very tense. It's a very tense day in Paris, you know, in that area of Paris. In Porte de Vincennes the police have now stormed the place where hostages were being held. It's a very populated area. Schools - there are schools around. Kids are kept in the schools after class, you know, because the area is sealed off. So parents are worried, children are scared. It's - traffic has stopped. I mean, obviously, it's - there's quite a lot of tension. It's - you know, it's difficult.

MONTAGNE: I expect everyone around you, I mean, even - it would be in your own office - is, at the moment, glued to the television.

KAUFFMANN: Yes. People are glued on TV or radios. People are listening to radios in offices everywhere or are on their computer screens or - yes, people are very - you know, I mean, we've been living with this drama for the past - I don't know - three days now. And it's - you know, it's the only thing people are talking about in France at the moment and I would say in most of Europe because we hear a lot of - we hear a lot of support and questions and iterations around Europe. I mean, everybody feels very, very concerned about this. The other thing which we are looking at is on Sunday - the day after tomorrow - we have a big rally planned in Paris and in several other cities in France. You know, it's another rally of solidarity, and so people are very much preparing this and also political organizations and...

MONTAGNE: Right. Well, I wonder - so many people came out after the attack on Charles Hebdo, the magazine - the satirical magazine - people poured out into the streets. It was a stunning, stunning sight. Do you think the events of not just Wednesday, but today and even yesterday when a policewoman was killed - and now that appears to be linked to these events - do think that people will come out again?

KAUFFMANN: I think so, yes. I think so. You know, last night people did come out again. No, I don't think there's fear to that degree - to that level. I think the mood is more - I mean, today it's tense. People are around these areas where people are - where the police are in action. Of course people are scared, especially those who are close to those places because there is action going on, and the attackers are there. Actually, I understand that the two main attackers have been killed.

But - although, I think people are still very much mobilized about what has been going on and they want to react, and they want to show that France, as a nation, is not going to be cowed and to back down. I think people want to show and to come out in trains on Sunday.

MONTAGNE: Thank you very much for joining us.

KAUFFMANN: You're welcome.

MONTAGNE: Sylvie Kauffmann is editorial director of Le Monde. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.