London unites in a mass candlelight vigil in Trafalgar Square in solidarity of the terrorist attack victims

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Londoners and visitors to the British capital were invited by the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan to take part in a candlelight vigil in Trafalgar Square on Thursday evening, in solidarity of victims and those affected by the terrorist attack the day before.

Around 2:40 p.m. GMT on Wednesday, a lone assailant mowed down dozens of pedestrians on Westminster Bridge in a 4X4 car, before killing a police officer with a knife in the grounds of Parliament.

Four people, including PC Keith Palmer who was a 48-year-old husband and father with 15 years’ service, died. At least 40 were injured in what is being treated as a terror attack in Westminster, London.

The suspect was identified as Khalid Masood — a 52-year-old father of three children. 

Khan said the vigil, which started at 6 p.m. GMT (2 p.m. ET), is for Londoners and visitors to the capital to “come together in solidarity to remember those who have lost their lives, to express sympathy with their families and loved ones and to show the world that we are more committed than ever to the values that we hold dear — that we remain united and open.”

Just over 24 hours ago, Westminster Bridge in London was at the centre of a horrific terrorist attack. But, as police and the government pledged, the capital would return to normality and the bridge would soon reopen. 'We are not afraid,' said Prime Minister Theresa May.

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Around 2:40 p.m. GMT on Wednesday, a lone assailant mowed down dozens of pedestrians on Westminster Bridge in a 4X4 car.

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One woman either jumped from the bridge to escape the oncoming car or was thrown by being hit by the 4x4. She was later pulled out of the river alive.

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However, 40 people were injured and four people died. Only two civilian victims have been identified.

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The first civilian victim named was Aysha Frade, a 43-year-old year mother of two children.

Sky News
Aysha Frade.

Kurt Cochran, a 54-year-old man from Utah, America was also killed. His wife Melissa is in a critical condition in hospital. They were in Europe to celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary.

Facebook/Shantell Payne
Kurt Cochran and Melissa Payne Cochran.

Afterwards, Khalid Masood -- the terrorist who committed the attack on the bridge in a car -- ploughed into the railings in Parliament and jumped out and attacked police officers with a knife in the grounds of Parliament, before being shot and killed.

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One police officer has died: PC Keith Palmer, a 48-year-old husband and father with 15 years' service.

Scotland Yard

On Thursday, Parliament flew its Union Jack flag at half mast to commemorate the dead and to show respect to the victims.

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While roads and pavements were open around parliament and Westminster again, it was extremely quiet as of 5 p.m. GMT on Thursday, only an hour before the vigil.

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Understandably, there was still a heavy presence of police officers, and some roads remained cordoned off.

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But across London, people lay tributes, notes, and flowers, laid out for those killed and injured in the attack.

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Passersby would often stop and pay their respects and look at the notes left with the flowers.

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When you get to Trafalgar Square, the area is awash of street art out of chalk pledging solidarity and peaceful messages.

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A defiant slogan that has dominated the spate of terrorist attacks on Western European major cities -- 'We are not afraid' -- is dominant.

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By 5.20 p.m. GMT, Trafalgar Square started to fill up with people wanting to take part in the vigil, as well as the press.

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By 6 p.m. GMT, Trafalgar Square was completely packed with people.

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Here is a video of the crowd.

Craig Mackey, Acting Met Police Commissioner, started off the raft of speeches at the vigil. He said 'terrorists in London have never succeeded, and never will.' You can watch his speech in the video below.

Britain's Home Secretary Amber Rudd gave a speech after Mackey and paid tribute to PC Keith Palmer who was killed by Masood, and then thanked the police and emergency services.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan then gave a sombre but strong speech about how 'we come together as Londoners tonight to remember those who lost those lives and all those affected by the horrific attack but also send a clear message: Londoners will never be cowed by terrorism.'

Sky News

Here is Khan's full speech on video.

Immediately after Khan spoke, there was a minute's silence.

Sky News

After the speeches, the crowds took turns to light candles to commemorate the dead and stand in solidarity with the victims.

And, echoing the sentiment of the event, vigil participant Maxine Marshall at the event told the BBC: 'I moved here 40 years ago from the United States and I'm still constantly amazed by this city - the diversity, the richness, the resilience. When I saw this vigil was on I said 'I need to be there and be with good people.' When you're in the heart of darkness that's what you need to do.'

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