‘Terrorist Incident’ Makes London Latest Target in Europe

Shots were heard near Britain’s Parliament on Wednesday, and an officer was stabbed. Witnesses said pedestrians were hit by a car on the nearby Westminster Bridge.

By THE NEW YORK TIMES on  Publish Date March 22, 2017. Photo by Stefan Rousseau/Press Association, via Associated Press. Watch in Times Video »

LONDON — An attack outside Parliament plunged London into turmoil on Wednesday, leaving at least four people dead and 20 injured, and prompting the hasty evacuation of the prime minister in a confusing swirl of violence that traumatized the seat of British power.

The police said they were treating the attack as terrorism, which appeared to make it the most serious such assault in London since the deadly subway bombings more than a decade ago.

Throughout a turbulent afternoon, ambulances, emergency vehicles and heavily armed security officers thronged the area outside Parliament, as one of the busiest sections of London was cordoned off and evacuated. Prime Minister Theresa May was rushed into a vehicle and spirited back to her office, where her aides reported that she was safe.

The driver of a large vehicle mowed down pedestrians on Westminster Bridge, which leads to Parliament, killing two people and injuring others, before crashing into a railing.

After the crash, at least one man left the vehicle and approached Parliament, where he stabbed an armed police officer to death and was fatally shot by the police.

“This is the day we have planned for but we hoped would never happen,” Mr. Rowley said. “Sadly, it’s now a reality.”

The attack came on the anniversary of suicide bombings in Brussels that killed 32 people, along with three bombers. The violence raised fears that London, which has been largely spared as a target of recent terrorist attacks, has now joined cities like Paris, Brussels and Berlin as targets of mass violence.

At least three police officers were among the 20 people injured. Also among the injured were a group of visiting students from the Brittany region of France, and a woman who fell or plunged into the River Thames.

For more than two hours, astonished lawmakers inside the House of Commons, some of whom had ducked for cover, were told to stay in place as officers searched the premises, office by office.

“At the moment, the very clear advice from the police and the director of security in the house is that we should remain under suspension, and that the chamber should remain in lockdown until we’ve received advice that it is safe to go back to normal procedures,” David Lidington, the leader of the House of Commons, or lower house of Parliament, told lawmakers in remarks broadcast live on the BBC.

Jeremy Shapiro, a former State Department official now at the European Council on Foreign Relations, said that the London attack was consistent with the recent pattern of attacks in which a vehicle was used to kill people, citing attacks in France, Germany and Israel.

“We’ve seen a gradual movement away from terrorist attacks on the West to attacks on softer and softer targets with more improvised weapons,” he said. “In a way, it’s a sign of desperation and a demonstration of the effectiveness of counterterrorism in the West. It’s spectacularly easy to kill a bunch of people with a car or a truck if you don’t care who they are.”

Organized attacks as in Paris are increasingly difficult to pull off, he said, but “the capacity of one person inspired by some ideology to do damage is inescapable.”

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Motion 103, in its own wording, demands our government work on a process that has the  potential to shut down free speech,  Our Prime Minister seems to feel himself next to God, if not already there.  And no wonder since the Liberals regard him as their saviour from oblivion, and little disposed to analyze anything through the filter of their God-given minds and souls, or consider the ultimate good of the country they are allowed to govern.  And the general populace seem to ask less of a handsome face, than a mere man.

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