By Humphrey Carter
AT mid-day yesterday, thousands of people stood in silence for 15 minutes outside their offices, stopped their cars, walked out of shops and banks in respect for those slaughtered in Thursday's bomb attacks in Madrid. In Palma, as hundreds of drivers pulled up and leapt out of their vehicles wherever they could, the horns of ships in the port marked the start and finish of the silent protest as tears of sympathy and anger marked the faces of many. Schools and colleges across the Balearics took part, the education authorities said that participation was “massive”.
A large number of students had written poems that were later read out while all pupils called for the fight against terrorism to continue.
As the day developed, anti-terrorism posters and banners started to appear on terraces and windows across the region, black bows fluttered from hundreds of car aerials. Union bosses said that few employees had remained at their posts during the 15 minute silence and blood centres were inundated with volunteers for the second consecutive day. Yesterday another 150 people gave 50 litres.
Travel agents said that, while bookings in general were as normal, a large number of people either cancelled flights to Madrid or changed their travel dates. Those who cancelled received full refunds.
The banks Sa Nostra and La Caixa have set up two special accounts for people wishing to make donations to help the victims “right now everybody is doing all they can to help ease the pain of those caught in the blasts,” a UGT General Workers Union boss said yesterday. The CAEB (Confederation of Balearic Business Association) called on its members to not only take part in last night's protest, but also combine their forces in doing whatever they can to help. The Balearics, along with the rest of the country, is on a high state of alert, with scores of extra police on the streets, especially in Palma.

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