Anger as rap music disturbs Tunisia silence at Portsmouth’s Guildhall Square

Staff at 1000 Lakeside take part in the minute silence for the Tunisia victims
Staff at 1000 Lakeside take part in the minute silence for the Tunisia victims
  • Music plays during part of minute’s silence
  • The Portsmouth Big Screen was eventually turned off
  • Minute’s silence was held in respect for the victims of the attack in Tunisia
Have your say

A minute’S silence to remember the victims of the massacre in Tunisia was spoiled – by rap music blaring from a big screen.

More than 100 people gathered in Portsmouth’s Guildhall Square to pay their respects to those lost in the attack which happened just over a week ago in the resort town of Sousse.

But what should have been a moment of quiet reflection was ruined for many people because the Big Screen had not been turned off until part way through the minute.

The screen, which is operated by Portsmouth City Council, continued to play a music video as well as advertising during the minute’s silence, and the plug was only pulled after the Guildhall chimes had sounded.

Lord Mayor Councillor Frank Jonas said several people told him after the minute that they were upset about the oversight.

Cllr Jonas said it was disappointing the screen was on.

He said: ‘Obviously it did take the shine off it.

‘They did turn it off after the chimes had sounded, which is better late than never, but it was a bit too little, too late.’

Fratton resident Les Cummings said the oversight made a mockery of the occasion. The 71-year-old said: ‘There were a lot of people there to show to their respects and what did they do?

‘They left the Big Screen on belting out rap music. It’s outrageous they couldn’t get that right. They were good people who lost their lives.

‘There’s a lot of heartache going on at the moment in our country but it was spoiled by the mismanagement of Portsmouth City Council.’

A spokesman from the council said: ‘The minute’s silence was observed throughout the council and flags were flown at half-mast.

‘The Big Screen was programmed to stop at midday, there may have been a few seconds’ delay in this happening but it was turned off for the majority of the minute.

‘We apologise if any offence was caused.’

Cllr Jonas said he was nonetheless pleased with the number of people who stopped to reflect on the tragedy at Guildhall Square.

He said: ‘Now everyone realises just how vulnerable people are when they go away on holiday. It’s just terrible that the terrorists are reaching out in that way.’

Right across the region, people paused to pay their respects to the lives lost in Tunisia.

Shoppers and workers in Havant were among those who observed the one minute’s silence.

Buskers put down their instruments as St Faith’s Church bells struck midday in West Street.

Drivers pulled up and turned off their engines.

Others stopped in their tracks and bowed their heads. At 1000 Lakeside North Harbour, Portsmouth, people gathered in front of television screens showing pictures of those who lost their lives to reflect.

1000 Lakeside general manager Karen Tyrrell said: ‘It’s important to recognise what took place to remember the families that have been left behind, and take time to reflect on what happened.