Paris attacks: Scenes of panic in false alarm at memorial site highlights tension in French capital

People leaving flowers, candles and messages at a memorial site at the Place de la Republique square on Sunday night.
People leaving flowers, candles and messages at a memorial site at the Place de la Republique square on Sunday night. PHOTO: EPA

PARIS (AFP) - Panic broke out in central Paris near the scene of one of Friday's (Nov 13) attacks as police deployed in the area, but it appeared to be a false alarm.

Reports of shooting sent people running on the Place de la Republique, where thousands had gathered on Sunday night in mourning and solidarity after France's worst ever attacks.

But police told AFP they could not confirm reports of shooting.

A video of the incident, tweeted by BBC journalist Julia Macfarlane, showed scores of panic-stricken Parisians fleeing as they reacted to sudden popping noises.

Police officers reportedly drew their guns and told people to evacuate.

The incident highlights the tense atmosphere that has enveloped the French capital, just two days after a string of coordinated terrorist strikes left more than 130 dead.