London was shaken this weekend after a terrorist attack at London Bridge killed seven people and injured at least 48 others. It was a sad day for the city but, as in the wake of the Westminster attack, Londoners have shown great courage in the face of such terrible events and reacted with messages of solidarity and defiance.
Crowds were seen fleeing the atrocity after three attackers used a van to run down people on London Bridge then began stabbing people at random with long-bladed knives in Borough Market. All three attackers were shot dead by police within eight minutes of the first emergency call. Amid the horror, images of resilience have emerged.
One man was praised for embodying ‘British resilience’ after walking away from the scene of the attack still carefully carrying his pint. Eyewitnesses who pelted chairs, pint glasses and bottles at the terrorists, and a taxi driver who spun his cab around on London Bridge to thwart attackers and warned members of the public to run away, have been commended for their courage. Another man’s tweet was liked more than 22,000 times when he posted a picture from the Royal Vauxhall Tavern – close to a third incident on Saturday night, which was later revealed not to be terror-related – letting people know he and his friends were safe, still drinking gin and dancing to Madonna’s ‘Like a Prayer’.
Our emergency services have been lauded for their ‘extraordinary courage’ – in particular, a British Transport Police officer who received stab wounds to the neck after taking on all three attackers armed with only his baton; he is now in a stable condition. A Met Police officer, who sustained critical injuries, was praised for single-handedly rugby tackling one of the terror suspects, and NHS staff were praised for running out of their wards at St Thomas’ Hospital and on to the streets to help the attack victims.
‘Londoners can rightly be proud of their emergency services today,’ said the Met Police Federation chairman. ‘They are the best of the best and we thank everyone for their praise and kind comments.’
Online, Londoners used Facebook’s Safety Check feature to offer victims food, shelter, clothing and even blood donations in the hours after the attack. Others posted messages of defiance in response to media reports that London was ‘reeling’ from the attack.
One eyewitness summed up London Mayor Sadiq Khan’s message that London ‘will never be cowed by terrorism’. Richard Angell was having dinner at Arabica Bar & Kitchen in Borough Market when the attack happened. The day after he returned to the restaurant to pay his bill and tip the staff who, he said, ‘looked out for us when they should have been helping themselves’. He told Buzzfeed News: ‘These people shouldn’t win. This is the best city in the world, and Borough Market is one of my favourite bits of the best city in the world. I’m not going to let the barbaric acts of cowardly people minimise that.’
A vigil is being held at Potters Fields Park at 6pm tonight (June 5), where members of the public will be able to lay floral tributes and pay their respects. Find out more here.