Around 100 women stood hand-in-hand on Westminster Bridge on Sunday for a powerful show of solidarity with the victims of Wednesday’s fatal terror attack on the capital.
The crowd – many wearing blue as a symbol of hope and peace – formed a human chain for five minutes at 4pm as Big Ben chimed in the background.
Many hijab-wearing Muslims took part in the demonstration, days after a Muslim woman photographed on the bridge in the aftermath of the attack was forced to speak out against Islamaphobes who misrepresented her online to further their own intolerant agendas.
Sarah Waseem, one of the women taking part in Sunday’s demonstration, organised by Women’s March London, told PA: "When an attack happens in London, it is an attack on me.
"It is an attack on all of us,” the 57-year-old from Surrey added. “Islam totally condemns violence of any sort. This is abhorrent to us."
Her sentiments were echoed by fellow members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community. Fariha Khan, 40, a GP from Surbiton, told reporters: "The feeling of what happened here on Wednesday was really strong."
We thought of the ordinary people who were here and were mown down, standing here like this, it was very overwhelming.
Ayesha Malik, a 34-year-old mother-of-two, said: "As a visible Muslim I think it was important to show solidarity with the principles that we all hold dear, the principles of plurality, diversity and so on."
Mary Bennett added: "This is my city. It's a very small gesture - but life is made up of small gestures."
Four people, including an unarmed police officer have died as a result of the attack and around 40 more were injured.
Khalid Masood, 52, weaved across Westminster Bridge in a Hyundai on Wednesday afternoon, mowing down pedestrians, before walking through the gates of the Palace of Westminster armed with two large knives and stabbing Pc Keith Palmer.
Masood was shot at the scene and later died in hospital. According to the BBC’s political editor Laura Kuenssberg, he was shot by Defence Secretary Michael Fallon’s bodyguard.
Those who died are:
- Pc Keith Palmer, a 48-year-old member of the Met’s Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection command who leaves a wife and two children
- Aysha Frade, a 43-year-old college worker from London who leaves a husband and two children
- Kurt Cochran, a 54-year-old recording studio manager from Utah, who was in Europe with his wife celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary. They have one son
- Leslie Rhodes, a 75-year-old former window cleaner from south London, who died of his injuries in hospital a day after the attack
Two people remain in custody in connection with the terror attack following a series of armed raids in London and Birmingham overnight on Wednesday.
Images: Getty Images, Rex Features