European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker has led EU and international tributes to those who those who perished in the London terrorist attacks.
Four people including one police officer were killed yesterday and at least forty people were injured in an attack at the Palace of Westminster in central London.
The attacker drove a vehicle into pedestrians on Westminster bridge and crashed into the palace’s perimeter fence, before abandoning the vehicle and entering the parliamentary estate via Parliament Square.
He assaulted a police officer with a knife before being shot and detained. He later died in hospital.
Juncker, speaking late on Wednesday, said, “My thoughts are with London tonight, with the families of the victims, with the commuters travelling home, with the people across the country and the world trying to get in touch with their loved ones, with the emergency services working courageously tonight, as every other night.”
The incident happened, he said, one year since the people of Brussels and Belgium “suffered a similar pain and felt the support of your sympathy and solidarity.”
He added, “At this emotional time, we at the European Commission can only send that sympathy back twofold.
“The United Kingdom will always remain a partner and a friend and one we will continue to work hand in hand with in the fight against terror.
“Together, Europeans will never cease to prove that love will always triumph over hate and that tolerance will always triumph over fear.”
More reaction came from GUE leader in the European Parliament Gabi Zimmer, a German MEP, who said: “We are deeply shocked and saddened to learn of the tragedy which took place in London. Our thoughts are with the victims and their families, and we stand in solidarity with the people of Britain on this sad day.”
French president Francois Hollande and German chancellor Angela Merkel both expressed their support and solidarity with Britain.
“We are all concerned with terrorism,” Hollande told reporters.
French interior Minister Matthias Fekl said “It is a high place of democracy that has been attacked’ and that France is ‘obviously ready to help”.
Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite, a former MEP and EU commissioner, said, “Terrorism – weapon of cowards. Strongly condemn gruesome terrorist attack at the heart of Westminster.”
The White House pledged ‘the full support of the US government in responding to the attack and bringing those to justice who are responsible,’ spokesman Sean Spicer said.
UK Prime Minister Theresa May said, “The location of this attack was no accident. The terrorists chose to strike at the heart of our capital city, where people of all nationalities, religions and cultures come together to celebrate the values of liberty, democracy and freedom of speech… But let me make it clear today, as I have had cause to do before: any attempt to defeat those values through violence and terror is doomed to failure…We will all move forward together.
“Never giving in to terror. And never allowing the voices of hate and evil to drive us apart.”
The police are treating the attack as a terrorist incident and an investigation was continuing on Thursday, with reports of seven arrests and police raids on properties in London, Birmingham and elsewhere.