Three wreaths of white flowers were laid at sea, and three bugles sounded off the French coast of Dunkirk in memory of the 27 migrants who tragically drowned trying to cross the English Channel a year ago.
Rescuers and elected officials took part in the ceremony on Thursday afternoon, as other demonstrations and tributes took place in Paris and cities across the country.
At least 27 migrants died last November 24 after their inflatable boat sank in the middle of the night in the English Channel.
The tribute was organized by the local National Marine Rescue Society, SNSM, along with the town hall of Grand Sint, a city near Dunkirk where many migrants live.
“This is the tragedy we expected and there will no doubt be more,” said Alain Ledagenel, president of SNSM.
Grande-Synthe mayor Martial Beyart added: “He’s not on the other side of the world, he’s here on our doorstep in the North Sea.”
Other tributes were given to victims between the ages of 7 and 46 at Dunkirk and Paris.
In an article published by Le Monde, 65 French, British and Belgian humanitarian associations called for the opening of “safe routes” to the UK to avoid more deaths.
The tragedy has not stopped migrants from defying the sea from the north coast of France: since January, more than 40,000 people have reached the coast of England.
At the same time, the French Coast Guard reported the rescue of more than 7,000 people.