“We will all move forward together,” she said outside 10 Downing Street in London, less than half a mile from the site of the attack. “Never giving in to terror and never allowing the voices of hate and evil to drive us apart.”
May, 60, called the assault — which authorities said wounded 40 and killed five, including a police officer and the assailant — “sick and depraved.” Investigators have described it as terrorism.
She recounted full details of the afternoon attack at the Palace of Westminster and on Westminster Bridge, which authorities believe is the work of one person. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to all who have been affected,” she said, “to the victims themselves and their family and friends — who waved their loved ones off but will not now be welcoming them home.”
She continued, “For those of us who were in Parliament at the time of this attack, these events provide a particular reminder of the exceptional bravery of our police and security services who risk their lives to keep us safe.
“Once again today, these exceptional men and women ran toward the danger even as they encouraged others to move the other way.”
May paid tribute to the emergency response teams, praising their “calmness and professionalism under pressure” and noting the loss of one of their own: the Parliament officer, later identified by Metropolitan police as 48-year-old Keith Palmer, who was fatally stabbed.
She also spoke of the symbolism of a “strike at the heart” of London — what it tried, but failed, to do.
“The location of this attack was no accident,” the prime minister said. “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.”
“These streets of Westminster, home to the world’s oldest Parliament, are ingrained with a spirit of freedom that echoes in some of the furthest corners of the globe,” May continued. “And the values our Parliament represents — democracy, freedom, human rights, the rule of law — command the admiration and respect of free people everywhere.
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“That is why it is a target for those who reject those values. 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.”
Assuring that Parliament would meet as normal on Thursday, May said she expected other Londoners to do the same.
“And Londoners — and others from around the world who have come here to visit this great city — will get up and go about their day as normal,” she said. “They will board their trains, they will leave their hotels, they will walk these streets, they will live their lives.”
• With reporting by SIMON PERRY