Saudi scholarship student in France gives details of attacks
Abdul Rahman Al-Eshaiwi is in France to complete his post-graduate studies; he was among the spectators at the friendly football match against Germany which French President Francois Hollande also attended.
“I heard two loud bangs in the first half of the game, but the game itself continued,” he said. “No one informed us what was happening, but I received a phone call confirming that there were explosions outside the stadium. Once the match ended, the attacks were announced on the stadium’s main screen, and a number of gates and parking lots were closed.”
At that moment, fear spread among the estimated crowd of 80,000 who began to try to escape, he said. “During our escape, I saw some gunmen, with white weapons, but I did not hear any shooting and the French police were directing people to a safe area,” he said.
“I took the metro from the stadium to another station, and when we arrived, we heard the police ordering us to get out and flee as fast as we could. We followed their orders; we found shops and cafes closed. Hotels had closed their doors and refused to admit anyone. There were no taxis and I asked a bicyclist to take me to my friend’s house,” he said.
“I am not sure if this is, as the terrorists claimed ‘For Syria!’ but the French people have great sympathy with the Syrian refugees; the government has taken positive steps for the refugees, including collecting aid and donations for them.”
Speaking about events at Rouen University where he is a student, he said: “Since the French government’s announcement that France would admit some Syrian refugees, the students began collecting donations for them. Some students even called for the government to open the borders to refugees.”
The cultural attaché at the Saudi Embassy in Paris advised all Saudi students to stay in their homes until further notice.