Tributes flow as life in ‘the greatest city on Earth’ returns to normal

London: Major landmarks in the British capital gradually reopened on Thursday afternoon and life began to return to normal, the day after a lone attacker descended on Westminster, killing three and injuring 40 more.


After the violence of the day before, there were some signs of trepidation. Despite Prime Minister Theresa May’s claim that “the streets are as busy as ever”, parts of central London were all but deserted on Thursday morning.

Instead hundreds of journalists and camera-operators and media broadcast trucks along with scores of police lined the usually busy Southbank along the River Thames instead. Overhead, the airspace was filled with multiple helicopters flying over Westminster.

Westminister Bridge, where two people were struck and killed during Wednesday’s rampage, and the nearby London Eye were closed on Thursday morning.

But by the afternoon they had reopened, with tourists returning to both places.

Tributes were laid on the bridge including one by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

London’s Southbank under the Golden Jubilee Bridge a day after the attack. Photo: Latika Bourke

32-year old Southbank resident Allister Collins was out walking his Pomeranian “Gizmo”on Thursday morning and said the area was noticeably quieter.

“Southbank is definitely dead, you can’t get through to Westminster Bridge but yesterday both the bridges were shut.”

Mr Collins said Londoners were keen to get back to business as usual.

“It’s incredible what a single madman can do, it’s not just the effect on the people who have been killed and injured of course, it’s the effect on business and the locals around here,” he said.

“I think the police response has shown how safe that place can be and you can have an active madman anywhere,” he said.

Tourists were trapped in the London Eye for more than three hours as the attack unfolded. Photo: Latika Bourke

The London Eye was forced to hold guests in their capsules on the rotating wheel for more than three hours. The Eye can hold up to 800 people but it’s understood it was not at capacity at the time of the terror attack.

Tourists told Fairfax Media they were worried by the terror attack but not deterred from visiting London’s attractions.

22-year old Mya from California said she was standing on the corner of Westminster bridge five minutes before the attack happened.

“It’s odd and it’s scary but we still came here to see all the sights,” she said after taking a picture of the Parliament from Lambeth Bridge.

“We always know [a terror attack] is a possibility but will the possibility of things make you stop travelling the world?”

Lawrence from Taiwan said he was shocked by the news landing in London on Thursday.

“It’s a bit weird to see the flags [at half mast],” he said.

Earlier Prime Minister Theresa May gave a statement to the House of Commons, praising the bravery of the “millions of people are going about their days and getting on with their lives.”

“The offices are full. The coffee shops and cafes bustling,” she said.

“As I speak millions will be boarding trains and aeroplanes to travel to London, and to see for themselves the greatest city on Earth.”

“It is in these actions – millions of acts of normality – that we find the best response to terrorism.”

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