Armed police patrolled the streets and manned checkpoints; shops and restaurants stayed shuttered, and residents laid tributes as Strasbourg recoiled on Wednesday from the deadly shooting at a Christmas market.
Blood stains spattered the Rue Des Grandes Arcades, a shopping street where some of the victims were shot. In Place Kleber, at the center of the French city, well-wishers left flowers at the foot of a Christmas tree, in memory of the two people killed.
“It’s destroyed the Christmas market. Nobody will want to come here,” said Bui, a 46-year-old waiter at the Casa Toscana restaurant.
“We thought it was firecrackers or a joke to begin with, what with the yellow vest protests at the moment,” he said, referring to nationwide demonstrations against high living costs. “It took about five minutes for people to realize what was going on.”
The attack risks dealing a devastating blow to the city’s retail and tourism industries, just as the month-long yellow vest unrest may have blunted the French economy.