An official ceremony was held in the Russian capital on Friday to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the 2002 Moscow Dubrovka theater siege, in which 130 hostages were killed.
After a minute of silence, white balloons, one for each hostage who died, were released into the sky and the names of the victims were read out. The ceremony continued with a requiem concert.
On October 23, 2002, some 50 terrorists belonging to the Chechen separatist movement stormed the theater and took 912 people hostage.
For three days, the hostages were held at gunpoint in the theater’s auditorium. The terrorists refused to surrender, demanding the immediate withdrawal of Russian troops from Chechnya.
After three days of appeals and negotiations, in the early morning of October 26, 2002, Russian security forces pumped an unknown gas into the main auditorium through the building’s ventilation system to disable terrorists before they could carry out their threat to blow up the hall.
Once the gas caused those inside to lose consciousness, a special forces team stormed the building.
The majority of the hostages – over 730 people – survived the ordeal, but many others were affected by the gas: 130 hostages died on the spot, in the hospitals or during transportation, and some of those who survived continue to suffer from serious health problems.