NICOLA Sturgeon called on Scots to unite in solidarity with the French people after chairing a Scottish Government resilience room (SGoRR) meeting in response to the terrorist attacks in Paris.
The First Minister was joined by members of her Cabinet, senior police officers and officials for the meeting to discuss the security implications of the tragic events in France.
Political leaders across Scotland expressed their horror at the massacre carried out by IS and sent messages of support to the families of those slaughtered in the indiscriminate shootings.
During the SGoRR session, Sturgeon underlined the importance of the Scottish Government working closely with the Foreign Office, Police Scotland and others to ensure that those caught up in the attack, or who may be concerned about relatives, have the advice, help and information they need.
Also in attendance were the Deputy First Minister John Swinney, Culture, Europe and External Affairs Secretary, Fiona Hyslop, Justice Secretary Michael Matheson, Europe Minister Humza Yousaf, and Infrastructure, Investment & Cities Secretary, Keith Brown.
The First Minister also took part in the UK government’s Cabinet Office Briefing Room (COBR) meeting that was chaired by Prime Minister David Cameron yesterday.
We want to be in a position of giving people the assurances they need. What we shouldn’t do ... is turn on each other. Our Muslim community here are a valued and integral part of our societyNicola Sturgeon
As the horror and scale of the French massacre unfolded, Sturgeon met the French consul-general at the Consulate in Edinburgh, where she signed the book of condolence.
She said: “We are all shocked and horrified by the terrorist attacks in Paris last night. Early this afternoon, I expressed, on behalf of the Scottish people, our sympathy and solidarity with the people of France at this terrible time.
“This morning I convened a Scottish Government resilience meeting to ensure that in Scotland we are doing everything we can to provide support for those who may be affected by this senseless attack.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of France following the horrific events last night. We stand ready to help in any way we can.
“We are working closely with the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO), Police Scotland and other partners to ensure that those who have been caught up in this senseless attack or who may be concerned about relatives have all of the advice, help and information they need.”
She added: “Scotland is a diverse multicultural society and this diversity is our strength. Terrorist attacks are intended to divide us and destroy the freedoms and way of life we value so highly. We must unite as a community here at home – and in solidarity with France – to make clear that they will not succeed.”
Sturgeon urged people with concerns about the welfare of families and friends in Paris to contact the FCO Crisis Centre helpline on 020 7008 0000.
The Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale also signed the book of condolence at the French Consulate and laid flowers there. Her message on behalf of the party read: “In solidarity with liberté, egalité, fraternité”.
Last night Dugdale mentioned the massacre in a speech she delivered to Democrats Abroad, the official arm for members of the Democratic Party living outside the US, in Edinburgh.
She said: “I want to extend my deepest sympathy to the people of France.
“The purpose of terror is to make us afraid of one another, to be fearful of the ordinary and to make us suspicious of our neighbours.
“But now more than ever we need to remind ourselves of what brings us together as human beings … we must not give the terrorists what they want by allowing ourselves to become more fearful or by responding with intolerance to people who are different from us.
“Our enduring values of freedom and tolerance are far more powerful than terrorism.”
The Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson said: “The attacks in Paris have, rightly, shocked the world and people across Scotland stand in solidarity with those affected.
“The choice of targets – a restaurant, a football match, an arts centre – show that this was as much an attack on our way of life, as on any one nation or people. It will not succeed. We will not be cowed by terrorists, nor willingly give up the freedoms we enjoy, that they would seek to crush.”
Davidson added: “As well as acts of remembrance across the world to those victims in Paris, there is a new resolution that the perpetrators will never be allowed to win.”
Meanwhile, Renfrewshire Council yesterday cancelled its Christmas lights switch-on as a mark of respect to those in Paris.
Events were due to begin at 12pm on Paisley High Street, with the Christmas lights to be switched on at 6pm, followed by a light show.
Renfrewshire Council leader Mark Macmillan said: “Our entire community is joined in solidarity with the people of Paris.
“I know we will have the full support of our community in taking this decision – we could not have proceeded with our celebrations in the aftermath of these deeply distressing incidents.”