Shaken but defiant, UK Parliament resumes work

2017-03-23 17:15
People gather on Westminster Bridge after it was re-opened to the public. (Tim Ireland, AP)

People gather on Westminster Bridge after it was re-opened to the public. (Tim Ireland, AP)

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WATCH: Woman falls off Westminster Bridge during London 'terror attack'

2017-03-23 12:41

Watch the moment a woman fell off Westminster Bridge into the River Thames, when a suspected terrorist ploughed through pedestrians near the London Houses of Parliament on Wednesday.WATCH

London - Lawmakers and lords, researchers and reporters, cleaners and catering staff returned to Britain's Parliament on Thursday as Britain's seat of government shook off its shock and got back to work after an attack that left two civilians and a policeman dead.

The Parliament complex is not just a political cockpit, but something much like a small town - complete with restaurants, shops, a post office and hairdresser salon - in which thousands of people work.

Now, it is a community in mourning.

The attacker on Wednesday plowed an SUV into pedestrians on nearby Westminster Bridge, killing two and wounding nearly 40, then stabbed police officer Keith Palmer inside the gates of Parliament. The assailant was shot dead by armed officers.

Members of the House of Commons were confined to the chamber and adjoining rooms for several hours - along with visitors including a group of schoolchildren who were kept calm and given candy by lawmakers.

Grilling ministers

Conservative lawmaker Nigel Evans said parliamentarians quickly realised how serious the situation was. He said he looked down from a window and "saw the SWAT team coming in and shouting," and a terrified young researcher walking towards them with his hands up.

But across Parliament, shock vied with a determination to confront fear with what Prime Minister Theresa May called "millions of acts of normality."

The giant Big Ben bell bonged reassuringly on the hour and lawmakers resumed the everyday business of grilling ministers about everything from Brexit to an unpopular proposed incinerator.

It was not quite business as usual. A blue police tent stood in the cobbled square just inside the complex's gates and forensics officers in blue coveralls worked nearby.

The House of Commons opened with a minute's silence in honour of the victims and a somber prime minister addressed lawmakers to condemn the attack, mourn the victims and salute the bravery of police and emergency services.

Read more on:    theresa may  |  uk  |  security

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