Gladstone teacher in Paris nervous after attack
A GLADSTONE teacher and her siblings have been caught up in the terror attack in Paris, seeing the sights not far from the shooting incident in which at least 12 people have died.
Three masked gunmen stormed the officers of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo on Wednesday, shooting 12 people dead and injuring 11 more.
It is believed to be France's deadliest terrorist attack in decades.
Brenda Courtice, 25, a teacher at Trinity College, Gladstone, her brother Doug Johnson, 20, a law student in Brisbane, and sister Catherine Johnson, 17, also from Brisbane, were walking to the Louvre when the attack happened.
"At the time, we were walking along the river and heard a lot of sirens and police racing past," Brenda said.
"My brother Doug joked that perhaps someone was stealing the Mona Lisa.
"It was only later when we stopped for a coffee that we saw the events popping up on our newsfeed, and had been blissfully unaware of what was happening."
Brenda said that since learning about what had happened, she had been "feeling incredible on edge", especially travelling on the metro.
"A number of trains were apparently cancelled later on in the day and there have been police sirens all day since the attack," she said.
"There is a heavy police presence everywhere, in the shopping centre, soldiers walking past the Eiffel Tower and other tourist hot spots, which is reassuring."
Brenda said it was sad that the world had come to this.
"I find it confronting that conflicts or offence taken by a cartoon can't be resolved civilly, and that people have resorted to violence to the most extreme measure," she said.
"It won't affect any future travel plans because that is what terrorists like this aim to do - strike fear into the hearts of innocent people and direct their lives by fear.
"But I think I will gain a greater appreciation for my safety and the comforts of home."
Brenda and her siblings had just arrived in Paris and will be leaving tomorrow.
Brenda and her sister will travel on to Venice and then England to visit family.