Day after attacks, Parisians shaken

It's now 33 hours since the first gunfire rang out in Paris, and there's still confusion about the possibility that one of the attackers got away.

Around 1500 troops have been drafted into the Paris region and police leave has been cancelled. Everywhere today there are armed guards.

The day after the gunfire, explosions and sirens filled the air, Parisians are walking about as if in a daze – a look of complete incomprehension on their faces.

The city is under a cloud of such grief, even the Eiffel Tower donned black in mourning. Social media transformed it into a sign of peace, but like many landmarks it's been shut down.

Public buildings such as museums have closed their doors to tourists for the time being, lessening the number of potential targets police have to guard because their dilemma is – where do they go? These attacks targeted aspects of social life – theatres, stadiums, restaurants. It's impossible to guard all of those.

Wellingtonian Sheena Sarkar says people in the Bastille neighbourhood where she now lives are more fearful than ever – at first because the Charlie Hebdo attacks earlier this year were close by, and now because normal everyday activities have become a terror target.

"Because it's so recent it still hasn't really sunk in, and to be honest the fact that it's happened in my neighbourhood twice already this year, that does scare me. I've got Kiwi friends here with small children who are like, 'We are getting on the next plane home,' which I can totally understand."

Ms Sarkar lives just metres from the La Belle Equipe restaurant where 19 people were shot dead.

She had walked past less than an hour before the firing started, then had to hide out in a nearby bar for several hours before she could get back home.

"We were there and then everyone started getting messages about what was going on, and so at that stage the bar owner shut the bar and pulled down the blackout curtains and said, right, everybody stay inside."

While Ms Sarkar considers herself lucky, a man who escaped the utter chaos at the national stadium may be the luckiest of the survivors.

He said he would have been killed if he hadn't been holding his phone to his ear so that it took the impact of flying debris instead.

"I was crossing the street and straight away – boom – it exploded in front of me.

"Everything was blown to bits and I felt stuff flying around. This is the cellphone that took the hit. It's what saved me."

The New Zealand consulate is still advising Kiwi expats not to venture out, and while the streets of Paris are not empty by any stretch of the imagination, it is a stretch for some to return to normality.

Today dozens are still in hospitals all over Paris. Some are in a critical condition. Some people have gone to give blood but others are looking for relatives, hoping they're not among the victims.

The gunfire that so dreadfully silenced a Friday night rock concert did not, however, kill hope in Paris.

John Lennon, himself the victim of a gun, could not have imagined a more defiant response.

Large gatherings are banned for five days, not like the Charlie Hebdo attack aftermath in January, where people were out marching for freedom of speech and were joined by defiant leaders from around the world.

Police are significantly more concerned about public safety this time around. People had tried to gather in Place de la Republique where the "Je Suis Charlie" march was held earlier this year, but police quickly moved them on saying it wasn't safe to gather.

There are also links being drawn to an arrest in Germany last week, in Bavaria, of a man with a weapons stash, which shows this is network that crosses several different countries in the EU and it's for that reason that there is so much nervousness about potential accomplices.

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