London attack: Quiet but defiant mood at London Bridge


London Bridge

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Armed officers guarded the entry to Borough High Street

Monday morning – rush hour – the busiest London Bridge ever gets.

At the best of times the landmark is choked with workers going about their own business – but this Monday morning, most took a moment to glance at the aftermath of the devastation which unfolded just steps away from their offices.

Reporters from around the world were stationed in front of the cordon, too, gently questioning some of those who took a minute to pay their respects.

Street corners were covered in flowers, cards and posters – a floral tribute to the people who lost their lives in Saturday’s attack.

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Flowers were left in memory of the victims

“London Bridge will never fall down” and “London United” were the overriding messages rippling through the borough.

The people of London and visitors – although quiet in thought – were strong and mainly carrying on with life as normal.

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A woman placed flowers on a crossing near London Bridge

One woman wiped her tears with a tissue, while looking down the bridge at the stretch of cordon guarded by several officers.

Forensic tents could be seen in the distance, while traffic lights which were hit by the van were clearly in sight of those walking past.

The woman put the tissue away and continued on her commute.

Not just a market

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Borough Market, positioned at the south end of London Bridge, has existed in one form or another for about 1,000 years, making it one of the oldest markets in London.

Originally a wholesale market, it now centres around artisan foods.

It is one of the largest food markets in the country, with more than 100 stalls selling gourmet goods from both Britain and abroad. As well as selling food to take away, there are more than 30 bars, cafes and restaurants.

It is a tourist attraction in its own right, attracting about five million visitors a year.

The market and its surrounding streets have been used as film locations for such features as Bridget Jones’s Diary, Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.

London Bridge spans the River Thames between the City of London and Southwark, in central London.

It is often depicted in films, news and documentaries showing the throng of commuters journeying to work into the City from London Bridge Station.

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A traffic light post was hit by the van on Saturday night

Cathy Morgan crosses London Bridge every morning on her way to work.

She said she felt a sense of solidarity among Londoners.

“This will not break us,” she said.

“Terrorism will not stop us from living our lives. We carry on, we stay strong.”

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A Big Issue worker encouraged Londoners to “stick together”

Her view was echoed by almost everyone on the bridge.

Mark Lilliott, who works in the area, was waiting by the Tube exit but was unable to access his office because it was behind the cordon.

Describing how it felt to come to work, he said: “It’s strange. People are a bit more silent, it feels a bit different.

“There’s lots of police presence so you notice it, which is good, but I think people are quite resilient.”

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Crowds gathered to catch a glimpse of the aftermath of the attack

James Hartley, an HR manager in the City, said he would “normally be marching across” the bridge to get to work.

But he took a moment to pause and reflect, looking out as the sun shone across the water.

“I’m just taking in the city and thinking about what happened over the weekend and joining with others in thanking the police officers,” said Mr Hartley.

“It feels really emotional, more emotional than I thought. It makes you appreciate what you have in life, and I’m deeply, deeply sad for those who have been affected by it.”

In Borough Market, although press and onlookers were gathered in crowds, others were sitting outside coffee shops to enjoy the morning sun.

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The entrance to Borough Market was cordoned off while investigations took place

Lucy Spencer, who regularly has after-work drinks in the market, said she was in the exact spot just two days before the attack.

“It could have been me, you know,” she said.

“Sat there enjoying time with my friends and then suddenly you’re being attacked and you lose a friend, your partner or even your own life.

“It’s just such a tragic thing to happen to people who were just enjoying themselves on a Saturday night.”

A mother who lives in a flat above a shop on cordoned-off Borough High Street was let through by officers.

“I didn’t see what happened, but I’ve been here the whole time,” she said.

“I’m allowed back to my house. I feel extra safe because of all the police here. We’re just carrying on as normal – that’s all we can do.”

Through the side streets near the market, Londoners trooped off in search of an alternative route to work beneath the shadow of The Shard.

Beyond the police cordons and the TV crews, it felt like any other day.



Source : http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-40159690

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