Tuesday 19 September 2017

How London got back to business as usual a day after the Westminster attack

By Catherine Wyatt

“We musn’t cower.”

Londoners packed out Tube and train stations this morning to show that they would carry on as usual.

As MPs returned to the scene of the deadly attack to gather at the usual time inside the Palace of Westminster, commuters got on with their lives showing they too refused to be cowed by terrorism.

Graham Lloyd-Evans was sitting in Victoria station during rush hour when he said the attacks will make people more determined to live a Western way of life.

The 49-year-old said: “It is not going to change anything. I think you will find everybody feels the same way. You can see that by the people walking through here already.

“Some people will be [worried about travelling in London], but then the people who travel in London all the time almost accept this.

“It won’t stop you from doing what you need to do. It’s not going to stop me sitting here and reading my book, and with a cup of coffee.

“That’s the life.”

Meanwhile, Twitter users shared pictures of packed out Tube stations, at odds with any picture being painted from elsewhere of a city shut down by terror.

Lucy Thompson works in London, and said she would carry on as usual.

She said: “I feel fine. If it’s going to happen it is going to happen. You could get hit by a bus probably more easily than get caught up in something like that.

“It’s happening all the time now. It is shocking and upsetting but it is happening around the world.”

One of the only signs that something major had happened was the number of armed officers policing the streets and stations.

“When I got here [Victoria station] the police presence was comforting,” said Emma Klausner.

“I just saw some on horse back, there are two horses outside. It makes you feel safer because you know they are only there to protect you.”

The attitude of Londoners was reflected online, where people admired the city’s ability to get on with life.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan told Sky News that Londoners would rise and return to normalcy.

He said: “The important thing is we mustn’t cower, we mustn’t allow the terrorists to succeed and to destroy our way of life, or to divide communities.

“We have got to show them that we are resilient, that democracy, justice, civil liberties, our way of life, tolerance, are values they hate.”

Prime Minister Theresa May addressed the House of Commons and told MPs that “an act of terrorism tried to silence our democracy.”

She said: “But today we meet as normal – as generations have done before us, and as future generations will continue to do – to deliver a simple message: we are not afraid. And our resolve will never waver in the face of terrorism.

“And we meet here, in the oldest of all Parliaments, because we know that democracy – and the values it entails – will always prevail.”

Mrs May confirmed that the attacker was British born and known to the police and MI5.

He was once investigated some years ago in relation to violent extremism, but was a “peripheral figure”.

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