Library of Birmingham lit up in tribute to victims of London attacks
The Birmingham landmark is illuminated in red, white and blue this evening to show solidarity with the Capital, after five people have died and 20 people have been injured following a violent stabbing frenzy near the Houses of Parliament.
— Andy campbell (@AndyCampbell30) March 22, 2017
Reports suggest a single attacker drove a car over Westminster Bridge, near the Houses of Parliament, killing two pedestrians and injuring many others, before crashing into railings outside the Houses of Parliament.
According to witnesses, the armed attacker ran towards Parliament with a knife, where he came face to face with police officers. The assailant then confronted an unarmed officer, stabbing and killing him. In response, the attacker was shot dead by nearby armed officers.
The attacker, the victims and those in intensive care had not been initially identified.
The policeman who was killed has since been named as Keith Palmer, a 48-year-old husband and father, who was a member of the Diplomatic Protection Service.
Among those injured, a woman was pulled out alive from the River Thames but suffered injuries.
On high alert and as a precautionary measure, Parliament was suspended and most visitors to the buildings were locked in for about five hours.
As Londoners and visitors to the city come to terms with the incident, solidarity is being shown across the country.
In Birmingham, the city’s landmark library is paying tribute by displaying the colours of the Union Flag, known as the Union Jack and recognised as the flag of the United Kingdom.
The move follows a request made by city councillors to the Library to mark the tragedy, to show solidarity and express a firm stance against all forms of terror.
Majid Mahmood, the councillor for Birmingham Hodge Hill (Lab) stated:
“We have lit the Library of Birmingham in the colours of the Union Jack to show solidarity with London. All of us stand together against those who preach division, hatred, and terror. We will never be cowed by terrorists whoever, and wherever they are.”
Mahmood, who has previously requested a similar response following international terror attacks, added:
“My thoughts and prayers are with the victims of the horrific attack in Westminster, London.
“My heart goes out to the emergency services who are working tirelessly helping the injured, and keeping us safe in these difficult times.
“Solidarity against all those who preach, division, hatred and terror.”
The councillor concluded his statement with a quote from the Qur’an, the Muslim holy book:
“Whoever kills a person unjustly is it as though he has killed all mankind. And whoever saves a life, it is as though he had saved all mankind.”
Birmingham MPs working in and around Parliament used Facebook’s ‘Safety Check’ feature to mark themselves as ‘safe’.
Members of Parliament Steve McCabe (Birmingham Selly Oak) and Khalid Mahmood (Birmingham Perry Barr) checked in to show they were safe, while MP Jess Phillips (Birmingham Yardley) posted to let her online friends and followers know she was “okay”.
As the day unfolded, Phillips praised the emergency services for their swift response to the chaos in Westminster:
“The admiration I have for the people who work here to keep us safe is boundless. I’m so sorry for them today.
“To lose a colleague and friend in line of duty is so painful, to get straight back up and keep serving under fire and pressure makes you a hero.
“As we walked from Parliament today there were no words that seemed good enough for the police and security staff who lined our safe passage.”
Distressing scenes from Westminster – BBC referring to as terror incident. Thoughts & prayers with those affected & with emergency services.
— John Clancy (@johnclancy) March 22, 2017
Leader of Birmingham City Council John Clancy described the scenes in London as “distressing”. Sharing his thoughts on Twitter, he wrote:
“Distressing scenes from Westminster – BBC referring to as terror incident. Thoughts and prayers with those affected and with emergency services.”
“The Library of Birmingham lit to show Birmingham’s solidarity with London. Our thoughts are with everyone affected by today’s Westminster attack.”
— John Clancy (@johnclancy) March 22, 2017
In March last year, the library was lit up in green and white to remember the victims of a terrorist attack which killed 70 in Pakistan, and was also enveloped in the colours of the Belgian flag following terror attacks in Brussels in the same month.
In November 2015, the French tricolore was on display following terror attacks in Paris, France, during which bomb blasts and gunmen took the lives of 129 people.
At the time, similar displays of sympathy and solidarity were also shown by other city landmarks including the Birmingham Central Mosque in Highgate and the The Guru Nanak Sikh Temple in Smethwick.