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The bells rang, silence fell, then a few hundred people gathered Wednesday evening to commemorate the tragedy that occurred last year.

It's 3:05 p.m., March 13, at Amqui | Drama in Amqui

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Citizens gathered on Saint-Benoît Boulevard in Amqui to honor the memory of the victims of the ram truck attack that occurred on March 13, 2023.

  • Laurence Gallant (View profile)Laurence Gallant

A bright, spring sun shone on Wednesday, like this afternoon of March 13, 2023, in downtown Amqui. Since early morning, the church bells have rung every hour, in memory of the three lives lost in a ram truck attack, and for the survivors.

On Boulevard Saint-Benoît, the scene of the tragedy which occurred a year ago to the day, people left businesses. People, including the brother of one of the victims, Gérald Charest, stopped on the sidewalk.

It's really important, because it's been hard. My brother died instantly. […] But the first turn of the wheel is done. After that, it should get a little better, slowly. We can't change history, but justice must be done, and we will try to continue quietly, supporting each other. The world of Amqui is a world that supports itself, affirms Sylvain Charest.

I don't like it, I don't like being here, but you have to look around. And we remember good memories. My brother Gérald was a funny guy. We were close.

A quote from Sylvain Charest

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The wound is still raw in the community.

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At 3:05 p.m., the precise moment when the lives of many families were turned upside down in Amqui, the citizens gathered on the boulevard gathered in silence.

For three minutes, a living painting, both poignant and solemn: everyone looked in the same direction, towards the east. That's where the van emerged a year ago, before charging into the crowd.

At the same time, others Relatives of the victims gathered in front of the church. They held hands in a circle, taking the time to observe a minute of silence.

Relatives of the victims of the attack March 13, 2023 gathered in the square in front of the Amqui church, at 3:05 p.m.

The community is gradually recovering from the shock, but it has not forgotten anything. Some have even changed their habits when they walk around town.

We make our trip and we always come back to the area… but it's sure we think about it. People even drive in reverse to see the cars coming, says a passerby.

Mayor Sylvie Blanchette recalls that the objective of Wednesday evening's ceremony is not to feel sorry for the fate of the city, but to honor the memory of the people who left them on March 13, 2023, and to show solidarity with the survivors.

The mayor of Amqui, Sylvie Blanchette, indicates that this day of commemoration brings up many emotions. An intimate gathering with victims of the attack was also held on Wednesday afternoon. There is the spouse of a deceased person who had not returned to walk there again, so this afternoon, all together, we were there, relates the chosen one.

This afternoon, we experienced great emotions again, […] and we are experiencing them at the minute.

A quote from Sylvie Blanchette, mayor of Amqui

We are all together, united, and life goes on. And you have to see the beautiful moments that you can experience too. This is what we want to remember, underlines Ms. Blanchette, who also allowed herself a humorous speech during the gathering on Wednesday evening, at Pierre-et-Maurice-Gagné Park. p>Start of the list of 8 elements. Skip list? End of list of 8 items. Return to start of list?

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The sidewalk along Saint-Benoît Boulevard was invaded by citizens on this Wednesday evening, just like what the mayor wanted, just a few days after the attack last year. For her, it was important to show citizens that this attack was an isolated event and that Amqui continued to be a safe city where life was good.

At the start of the evening, nearly 200 people gathered at Pierre-et-Maurice-Gagné park, in Amqui.

Photo album: Memorial evening in Amqui

It can't be forgotten. We could have been among the victims because we had just left the sidewalk, says a resident we met in Amqui.

I found It's good that the world shuts up, because… it's terrible, comments another.

In this sense, the key word of the commemorations organized on Wednesday is solidarity, according to a volunteer from the Amqui factory, Daniel Thériault.

We could see that it touched people, just like me, it touched us personally. It was unrealistic, but also unifying, he says.

The people gathered together, stood up, held demonstrations […] It was truly extraordinary to see all this solidarity.

A quote from Daniel Thériault, volunteer and resident of Amqui

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Daniel Thériault with the parish priest, Kindé Cosme Arouko

For his part, the priest Kindé Cosme Arouko indicated that the church of Amqui had opened its doors for anyone, regardless of faith, who wished to meditate or simply break the isolation. /p>

People need to talk with other people. They left the house to find a neutral place to meditate.

A quote from Kindé Cosme Arouko, priest of Amqui

The church is everyone's home, and we are going to gather together, pray together, collect ourselves, tell people that they are not alone and that there are people who accompany them, who listen to them, underlined the priest, a few hours before a mass held in memory of the victims.

With information from Pierre Chapdelaine de Montvalon, Adrianne Gauvin-Sasseville, Roxanne Langlois and Jean-François Deschênes

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