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Love for all, hatred for none: hundreds gather for Westminster attack vigil

Hundreds of people have gathered on Westminster Bridge and outside the Houses of Parliament for a silent vigil to commemorate the four people who were murdered in last week’s terror attack.

At 2.40pm on Wednesday, precisely a week after Khalid Masood drove into crowds on the bridge before stabbing a police officer at the nearby
Palace of Westminster, the crowds fell silent, many bowing their
heads.

Among them were dozens of young Muslims from the Ahmadiyya community, several holding banners which read: “Love for all, hatred for none.”

They stood alongside senior police officers, Muslim and Jewish
faith leaders, schoolchildren, tourists, workers from nearby offices and passersby, who had begun gathering hours earlier to pay their respects.

Margaret Blackwell, from Kensworth in Bedfordshire, fought back tears as
she said she “just had to come”.“We all feel the same. It’s complete shock,” she added.

Noelle Lynch, an Irishwoman living in the Isle of Dogs, east London, had brought her sons Rowan, 12, and Jack, eight, because having lived through the IRA campaigns in London in the 1980s, “I think it’s so important to show that we all stand together.”

Her children had been nervous about coming, she said, “but I said, ‘Don’t worry. We’re not going to give in.’ That’s what I noticed
about London. It’s all about showing we are not scared. Just getting
on with it, going about our day.”

Three people were killed and more than 35 injured when Masood’s Hyundai 4×4 ploughed into the pavement on the bridge at more than 70mph – Kurt
Cochran, an American tourist; Aysha Frade, a Spanish-British teacher and Leslie Rhodes, from London.

Masood then stabbed and killed PC Keith Palmer having burst through the gates of the Houses of Parliament complex. He was shot dead by police officers moments later.

The police presence was highly visible on the bridge, with police vans and mounted officers securing the ends of the bridge, and others in uniform mingling with the crowd, along with a number of heavily armed officers carrying semi-automatic weapons.

Abdul Hye Khan, the secretary of Bangladeshi Muslims UK, said he had gathered with other members of the Muslim community and faith leaders “to show our solidarity with those killed here by this barbaric attack. We don’t support this kind of attack in the name of Islam or any other faith. [Masood] had no faith. He was not a human being.”

Police officers also held a minute’s silence outside New Scotland Yard. Craig Mackey, the acting commissioner of the Metropolitan police, said: “This afternoon is about remembering the victims of last week’s events. Our thoughts, our prayers, go out to everyone who was affected by the events last week.

“I would urge you, if you get time, to go on to the bridge, talk to Londoners, talk and get a feel for this great city and how it’s come together in responding to these events.”