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UPDATE: PSU vigil honors Paris victims; OSU says students in France are safe

TRIBUNE PHOTO: DIEGO G. DIAZ - More than 100 people gathered on a rainy Sunday afternoon, Nov. 15, for a vigil at Portland State University to honor victims of the Nov. 13 terrorist attacks in Paris.About 100 people gathered Sunday afternoon outside Portland State University's library to honor victims of Friday's terrorist attacks in Paris.

The vigil included singing, candles and signs of support for the French people.

It came two days after Oregon Gov. Kate Brown and Portland Mayor Charlie Hales expressed sadness and offered condolences for residents of Paris Friday evening after more than 120 people were reported killed in a series of terrorist attacks.

On Monday, Brown ordered flags on state buildings lowered to half-staff until Thursday, Nov. 19.

"I am sickened and profoundly saddened by the violence inflicted on the people of Paris, France,” Brown said in a press release. “Those responsible must be brought to justice, and we must stand together as a nation and as members of a global community united against terrorism."

At least six attacks in the French capital on Nov. 13 left people dead in restaurants, outside a soccer stadium and at the Bataclan Theatre, where American band the Eagles of Death Metal were performing. More than 110 people were reported killed in the theater by terrorists who fired AK-47s, threw grenades and set off suicide bomb vests in the concert crowd, according to CNN.

Oregon State University officials said Saturday that 24 students participating in education programs offered in France were safe. Of the two dozen students in France, five are Oregon State students and 19 are students who attend other colleges, but engage in study abroad and internship activities within IE3 Global programs managed by OSU. Three IE3 students and one Oregon State student were believed to be in Paris at the time of Friday’s violence, according to OSU officials.

University staff said the college has contacted each of the students to confirm their safety.

“We are all incredibly saddened by the tragic violence in Paris and the loss of life and suffering that has occurred,” said Mark Hoffman, vice provost of international programs at Oregon State. “We will remain in close contact with our students in France and support them and their families as best we can during this tragic time.”

In response to Friday’s violence, OSU’s 25 students from France on the Corvallis campus will be provided counseling and other services through the Oregon State International Program, OSU officials said Saturday.

President Obama called French President Francois Hollande Friday evening and offered “the condolences of the American people for the horrific terrorist attacks in Paris earlier this evening,” according to White House officials.

In a statement to reporters early in the evening, the President called the attacks “an outrageous attempt to terrorize innocent civilians.”

“This is an attack not just on Paris, it’s an attack not just on the people of France, but this is an attack on all of humanity and the universal values that we share,” the President told reporters.

“France is our oldest ally. The French people have stood shoulder to shoulder with the United States time and again. And we want to be very clear that we stand together with them in the fight against terrorism and extremism.”

Obama called the attacks “a heartbreaking situation.”

“And obviously those of us here in the United States know what it’s like,” the President told reporters. “We’ve gone through these kinds of episodes ourselves. And whenever these kinds of attacks happened, we’ve always been able to count on the French people to stand with us. They have been an extraordinary counterterrorism partner, and we intend to be there with them in that same fashion.”

In a statement issued shortly after the attacks, Brown said she was “sickened and profoundly saddened by the violence inflicted on the people of Paris, France today.”

“Those responsible must be brought to justice, and we must stand together as a nation and as members of a global community united against terrorism,” Brown said.

Hales, posting on his Facebook page, wrote that, “My heart, and the condolences of all Portlanders, go out to Mayor Anne Hidalgo and the people of Paris. What an outrage that this city should suffer again.

“The world will always love Paris,” Hales wrote. “We gather there because it is a city where freedom of ideas and expression flourish and where we believe that accord — a French word after all — can be reached through peaceful means. Nous sommes Parisiens.”

Portland musician Colin Meloy, frontman for The Decemberists, tweeted: “All my love to Paris tonight & to the kind, strong, generous people of France.”

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