SHOCK in the aftermath of the major terror attack on Bastille Day in Nice is starting to give way to messages of solidarity, with a huge response on social media to the unfolding events.
At least 73 people have died and many more are injured, after a lorry was driven through a packed crowd watching fireworks on the seafront.
Many hundreds shared a cartoon by the Le Monde artist Plantu, who depicted a weeping dove of peace in a map of France under the banner "Nice".
The hashtag used by people describing the attack on social media, #Nice06, has become the top trend in France.
With police urging people to stay indoors, locals are opening their doors to anyone who might be staying from elsewhere to seek shelter, under the hashtag #PortesOuvertesNice.
And others have shared images highlighting the peaceful, pleasant and cultured nature of the city of Nice, a small town with a very low crime rate.
Nice, France! 😔 I was just there a month ago! Beautiful place filled w amazing people. My ❤️ is with you tonight! pic.twitter.com/myNIM8unn4— Candice Patton (@candicekp) July 15, 2016
The mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, tweeted: "On behalf of Parisians, all our support and fraternity to the people of Nice. Our cities are united."
Au nom des Parisiens, tout notre soutien le plus fraternel au peuple niçois. Nos villes sont unies.— Anne Hidalgo (@Anne_Hidalgo) July 14, 2016
And the mayor of Nice itself, Christian Estrosi, tweeted: "Dear Nice, our hearts alongside each & every one of you. We must stand firm. Proud of your solidarity and organisation, [what it is] to be from Nice."
It followed only moments after Estrosi posted stunning photographs of the Bastille Day celebrations on the Promenade des Anglais.
Writing online, Nice Matin journalist Damien Allemand who was at the waterside said the fireworks display had finished and the crowd had got up to leave when they heard a noise and cries.
"A fraction of a second later, an enormous white truck came along at a crazy speed, turning the wheel to mow down the maximum number of people," he said.
"I saw bodies flying like bowling pins along its route. Heard noises, cries that I will never forget."
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