People in nations across the globe are responding to the horrific attack on School No.1 in Beslan, North Ossetia, offering relief, offering prayers, and offering words of comfort to those directly affected. Meanwhile, many have condemned the actions of terrorists such as those who were responsible for last week’s hostage tragedy that left over 350 dead—nearly half of them children—and sent over 700 others to hospitals with gunshot wounds and burns.
As families pressed on with their agonizing search for loved ones still missing, tens of thousands of Russians assembled outside the Kremlin Tuesday to say ‘no’ to terror after the Beslan school hostage tragedy.
A sea of people, brandishing banners and Russian flags stood in grief at the deaths of the nearly-400 hostages and rescuers killed in the hostage siege, the 90 killed in plane attacks, and the ten who died after a Moscow suicide bombing past weeks.
News agencies say tens of thousands turned out for the demonstration in the pouring rain, during which demonstrators carried banners with such slogans as ‘Terror is Worse than Plague’, ‘The Enemy Will be Defeated,’ and ‘The Victory Will Be Ours.’ Some of those assembled in front of Saint Basil’s Cathedral for the demonstrations had braved the same driving rain that marked funerals in Beslan the day before.
In Saint Petersburg, a similar demonstration was held to remember the hundreds of victims of Russia’s school hostage crisis and to demand an end to terrorism.
The protesters, most of them young people, carried Russian flags and placards bearing slogans including "No to Terrorism" and "Death to the Killers of Children".
The protest on Saint Petersburg’s Palace Square also heard a children’s choir sing Ave Maria while images of hostage-taking incidents carried out in Russia in recent years were broadcast on two large screens.
On that same day, 1500 miles away in Rome tens of thousands of people marched through the streets of Rome in memory of the victims of the school hostage crisis and in protest of all acts of terrorism. Most demonstrators held candles, and many were held hands during the somber, silent march through the Italian capital. Children and youngsters intermixed with politicians, religious leaders and other officials.
“Children should be considered sacred in all times, places and cultures,” one schoolteacher told a news agency.
The march was one in a series of tributes held across Italy. According to news reports, about two million people left lit candles by their windows over the weekend
Meanwhile, in Beslan, doctors at the local hospital reported that basic needs were covered, and that many of the wounded had been evacuated to neighboring Vladikavkaz, the capital of North Ossetia, as well as to Moscow.
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) delivered additional aid to the Republican hospital in Vladikavkaz over the weekend, and is currently visiting other medical structures in the area to assess their needs. Medical stocks including anesthetics, antibiotics, syringes, infusions, sterile bandages, surgical material and bed linen are being distributed according to each hospital's specific needs.
Christian organizations such as US-based World Vision (WV), which has an office 12 miles from the site of the tragedy, have also contributed to the relief efforts in Beslan. Last Friday WV allocated $25,000 last Friday as an initial response.
Also, the UK-based Barnabas Fund is appealing for donations to help the victims of the attack. Funds are being channeled through their existing contacts in Beslan.