Four days after London was shaken by the Westminster attack, women lined up on Westminster Bridge to show solidarity with the victims. Standing on the spot where three members of the public died and around 40 were injured, when terrorist Khalid Massood sped his car along the bridge before crashing it into the railings outside Parliament and stabbing a police officer, a crowd of around 100 women linked hands and bowed their heads for five minutes in a silent vigil.
People from a range of backgrounds joined the vigil as Big Ben struck 4pm on Sunday. It was organised by the Women’s March on London movement. Many of the women wore blue to represent hope and peace.
Women who registered online for the Women’s March received an email saying: ‘In the wake of the Westminster attack, we invite you to join us for a women’s action of solidarity. It is important that we come together at this time when tensions intensify in our communities.’ However, participants were asked to share the message privately in order to limit numbers. On the day, many tourists and passers-by joined the vigil.
Women’s March on London spokeswoman Emma McNally told the Guardian: ‘This is a simple statement of women coming together and standing together, reclaiming Westminster Bridge as an expression of solidarity in London and across the UK.’
In the aftermath of the attack, Londoners paid tribute to the victims by laying floral tributes on the south side of the bridge and at the Police Memorial Trust. They also shared messages of solidarity, defiance and unity accompanied by the hashtags #LondonIsOpen and #WeAreNotAfraid. Mayor of London Sadiq Khan organised a candlelit vigil in Trafalgar Square on Thursday March 23 and released a statement about the attacks, saying: ‘Londoners will never be cowed by terrorism.’