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France rallies behind Britain after deadly London attack

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Flowers are laid at the scene after an attack on Westminster Bridge in London, Britain, March 22, 2017. REUTERS/Hannah McKay

President Francois Hollande sent a message of "solidarity" and "support to the British people" saying France could identify with their pain after the attack, in which three French high school students were also wounded.


"France, which has been hit so hard in recent times, knows what the British people are suffering today," he said.

And Prime Minister Bernard Cazeneuve tweeted: "Solidarity with our British friends, horribly attacked, full support for the injured French students, their families and their friends."

Overnight, lights on the Eiffel Tower were switched off at midnight in solidarity with those killed and injured in a terror attack outside Britain's parliament.

The decision was taken by Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo following the deadly attack in which a man ploughed his car into pedestrians on London's Westminster Bridge then leapt out and stabbed a policeman, killing three people and wounding more than 20.

Hidalgo had earlier expressed her "solidarity" in a message to her London counterpart Sadiq Khan, adding: "Paris and London have very close links which have become stronger in the last few decades."

She said the two capitals "share a common love of freedom and an attachment to democracy" and were "tolerant and cosmopolitan cities, open to the world."

London attacks aftermath

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said the attack left him "highly emotional".

In Brussels to commemorate the one-year anniversary of attacks on the main airport and a metro station, Juncker said "the fact that exactly on the same day something similar happened in London, and to London, is really putting me in the situation of someone who does not have... enough words to express how I am deeply feeling."

European Council President Donald Tusk tweeted: "My thoughts are with the victims of the Westminster attack. Europe stands firm with the UK against terror and ready to help".

Meanwhile, British police arrested a number of people in a raid on a property in Birmingham just hours after the deadly attacks in London.

The raid was linked to the assailant in Wednesday's attacks, in which four people were killed and 40 wounded, the Press Association news agency and Sky News reported.

Police refused to confirm a link between the raid in the central English city and the attack in the capital, which they have attributed to "Islamist-related terrorism".

The attack unfolded on Wednesday across Westminster Bridge in the shadow of Big Ben, a towering landmark that draws tourists by the millions and stands over Britain's Houses of Parliament -- the very image of London.

The attacker's car struck pedestrians on the bridge before crashing into the railings surrounding the heavily guarded Houses of Parliament, sowing first shock then panic in the seat of British power.

The assailant then ran through the gates brandishing a knife and stabbed a 48-year-old policeman to death before being shot dead by another officer.