Imams, rabbis, priests and other faith leaders gathered with uniformed police officers and groups bearing banners with slogans such as “Islam says NO to terror” and “Love for all, hatred for none” on the south side of Westminster Bridge, where the attack began.
They then slowly walked in silence across the bridge toward the Houses of Parliament, some carrying flowers, before holding a moment’s silence by Elizabeth Tower, home to the iconic Big Ben bell.
Staff at the nearby St Thomas’ Hospital, some of whom gave emergency aid to the victims, also gathered outside the hospital building to pay tribute.
There was a heavy police presence for the memorial event, with armed officers, sniffer dogs and horses deployed in the area.
The national chairman of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Association, Rafiq Ahmed Hayat, told CNN it was important for his organization to show solidarity with the people of London at a very difficult time.
“Also, we wanted to condemn what had happened because although he may have done this in the name of Islam, it had nothing to do with Islam. He was just a common criminal who used the name of Islam to commit these atrocities,” he said.
London is one of the most culturally rich and tolerant cities in the world, he said, adding: “It is very, very important on such occasions we all come together and say, this act in our great city — we condemn it for everyone.”
Jan Bros, community coordinator of the east London-based SuperSisters Project for young Muslim women, told CNN she was taking part in the vigil “to show solidarity with the people who were killed last week, but most importantly to come and show that London is open for business, that we are a very diverse community, and people here feel empowered to say ‘you won’t do this in our name, you won’t.’ Everyone of us here feels very strongly about this.”
Those present are proud to be Londoners and want “to prove that we are part of a great metropolis of people who care,” she said.
Gurmeer Singh, 26, said he had taken time out from work to come to pay his respects and show solidarity with the victims, especially the police officer who was killed protecting Parliament.
Inquests were opened Wednesday for those killed in the attack: Palmer, age 48; British college administrator Aysha Frade, age 44; US tourist Kurt Cochran, age 54; and 75-year-old south London resident Leslie Rhodes, whose life support was turned off Thursday.
“As a result of the attack in excess of 35 people were injured. The injuries ranged from cuts and bruises to extensive bone and skull fractures,” said a statement from London’s Metropolitan Police on the opening of the inquests. “One further person remains in hospital in a coma, suffering extensive injuries.”
The statement added: “The incident lasted approximately 82 seconds — from the first time the vehicle mounted the pavement until the attacker was shot by police. CCTV and other images obtained from witnesses provide a clear visual chronology of how the events unfolded.”
Earlier Wednesday, Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow, announced two independent security reviews of UK Parliament buildings “to make sure that any lessons are learned” from the attack.
The first, to be produced by the end of April, will focus on how the perimeter of the parliamentary grounds is secured.
According to police, Masood crashed his rental vehicle into the east perimeter gates of the Palace of Westminster before running into the vehicle entrance gateway on the north perimeter fence, known as Carriage Gates, armed with two large knives.