Britain honors its dead with vigil after London Bridge attack

Britain honored on Monday the two people who were killed in a knife attack in the London Bridge area of the capital.

“We come together this morning as Londoners to remember, to honour and to mourn the innocent lives lost as a result of the horrific terrorist attack this Friday,” London Mayor Sadiq Kahn said at the vigil.

Jack Merritt, 25, and Saskia Jones, 23, were killed on Friday when Usman Khan, a man convicted of terrorism offences in 2012, went on the rampage with kitchen knives at a prisoner rehabilitation conference beside London Bridge.

“We take hope from the heroism of ordinary Londoners and emergency services” who risked their lives to stop the attacker, the mayor continued.

Confronted by bystanders, including a Polish man brandishing a narwhal tusk and others with fire extinguishers, Khan, who was wearing a fake suicide vest, was wrestled to the ground. He was then shot dead by British police.

The vigil was held in Guildhall Yard, in the heart of the City of London, to honour the dead, those injured, the emergency services and the members of the public who tackled Khan.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn were also in attendance.

Blame game

The attack has thrust criminal justice to the centre of the election campaign.

British politicians sought to apportion blame for the early release of Khan – who was released despite a warning from the sentencing judge in 2012 that he was a danger to the public.

“I absolutely deplore the fact that this man was out on the street, I think it was absolutely repulsive and we are going to take action,” Johnson said on Sunday.

Conservative cuts to community policing, probation, mental health, youth and social services could “lead to missed chances to intervene in the lives of people who go on to commit inexcusable acts,” said Corbyn.

“Don’t use my son’s death, and his and his colleague’s photos – to promote your vile propaganda,” David Merritt said in a tweet above newspaper headlines from the Daily Mail and Daily Express, both of which described a government plan for a “blitz on freed jihadis”.

“Jack stood against everything you stand for – hatred, division, ignorance,” he said.

Both the dead were involved in the University of Cambridge’s Learning Together programmer to help educate and rehabilitate prisoners. Khan was attending a Learning Together event when he began his attack.

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