Beslan in tribute to siege dead
THE grief-stricken people of Beslan held a moment of silence yesterday at the school where hundreds of their relatives and neighbours - more than half of them children - died when the terror siege in the southern Russian town ended in explosions and gunfire one year ago.
By the time the clock struck at 1.05pm (10.05BST) - the time of the first explosion that announced the bloody end to the three-day hostage crisis - at least 4,000 people had squeezed into the courtyard outside the school gym where the victims endured terror, thirst and hunger at the hands of a band of Chechen militants.
As a bell tolled, children released 331 white balloons into the air to symbolise the souls of the dead.
The moment of silence was broken by a wave of wailing that rippled through the crowd, and at least one woman collapsed.
In Moscow, where flags were at half-mast, people also observed the silence.
Chechen terrorists attacked School No 1 on September 1, 2004 - the first day of the new school year.
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