In the morning hours of Sunday, as Europe woke to news of yet another deadly terrorist attack, international news media blanketed coverage of last night’s terror assault in London, its ongoing investigation and the reactions of government leaders.
UK Prime Minister Theresa May addressed the media in front of 10 Downing Street on Sunday morning, saying “Enough is enough” as she spoke on the third terror attack Britain has experienced in three months. She warned that the country was seeing a new trend, with assailants copying each other.
“Terrorism breeds terrorism,” said May after seven died and 48 were injured on Saturday night when three men plowed into pedestrians in London Bridge before stabbing people in Borough Market. Police arrived on the scene within eight minutes and shot and killed the attackers.
May praised the police and emergency services for their quick work and pointed out that UK police had disrupted five credible attacks since the Westminster attack in March, in which a man drove a car into pedestrians on a sidewalk near the Houses of Parliament, injuring more than 50 and killing four.
May said while these attacks and the attack on Manchester Arena last month, which saw a suicide bomber kill 22 people as they left an Ariana Grande concert, were not connected, “we cannot and must not pretend that things can continue the way they are.”
“Enough is enough,” said May, who urged that things need to change in four key ways. First, she said, the attackers “are bound together by the single evil ideology of Islamist extremism that preaches hatred, sows division and promotes sectarianism. It is an ideology that claims our western values of freedom, democracy and human rights are incompatible with the religion of Islam. It is an ideology that is a perversion of Islam and a perversion of the truth… Defeating this is one of the great challenges of our time.”
The Guardian notes that this is a much tougher response from May than in the aftermath of the Manchester attack on May 22. (The Prime Minister, who is currently in the middle of campaigning for a contentious general election in the country on June 8, said that while her Conservative party and the major opposition Labour party had both agreed to suspend campaigning today, national campaigning would resume again tomorrow.)
She also urged for more allied international agreements across the internet to prevent the spread of extremism and terrorist planning. “We cannot allow this ideology the safe space it needs to breed,” said May, indicating that this was precisely what the internet provides.
Thirdly, she called for more action in the UK saying that that there was “far too much tolerance of extremism in our country.” This, she said, would require some embarrassing and difficult conversations but was a measure that needs to be taken in the UK, to unite the country.
Fourth, May proposed to review counter-terrorism laws, suggesting longer sentences for some offenses, even if minor. “It is time to say enough is enough,” she said before adding that “everybody needs to go about living their lives as they normally would. When it comes to take on terrorism and extremism, things need to change.”
London Mayor Sadiq Khan, speaking before the death toll was raised from six to seven, tweeted a video message in which he condemned the terrorists as “barbaric cowards.” But, “this is our city,” he said, “and we will never let these cowards win.”
There are four French nationals among the injured, and May has reportedly spoken with French President Emmanuel Macron today. France expressed its solidarity with its cross-Channel neighbors:
U.S. President Donald Trump had previously tweeted his support. Today, Russian President Vladimir Putin said, “The brutality and cynicism of this crime is shocking.” According to the official Kremlin website, he “expressed his conviction that the best common response to this incident should become the extension of joint efforts in fighting terrorists all over the world.”
The Spanish foreign ministry also released a statement saying, “Spain shares the pain of the families of those who have died in these cowardly attacks and wishes all those injured a swift recovery… The government offers the British people and authorities its total solidarity and support in the fight against terrorism.”
German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman issued this statement: