London: It was a different world on Friday as police and emergency services struggled to deal with the worst wave of terror attacks since the Second World War.
But there were reminders that the city’s long history of violence has never been more apparent.
A crowd gathers outside Parliament in London.
In London, the mood was grim, with people standing outside Parliament on Westminster Bridge and others standing in the street outside Parliament to vent their frustrations over what they see as the city government’s failure to prepare for the worst-case scenario.
The city’s mayor, Sadiq Khan, called for calm and unity as he urged people to “step up and take responsibility for your lives” and said the attack was an “incident of a new kind”.
“We can all be thankful that we are not facing this again,” he said, adding that the incident had left him with “no choice” but to order the closure of the entire City of London.
He said he had been in touch with senior members of the British government and the UK intelligence agencies.
“If we do not act now, I do not know how long this will last,” Khan said.
His remarks followed calls from the US and British governments to step up security measures in the wake of the London attacks.
As Khan spoke, a large crowd of demonstrators gathered outside Parliament and blocked traffic in central London.
Some held placards reading “The police are the police” and “We want justice, we want security”.
In an interview with ITV News, Khan said that although he had spoken to his British counterpart Boris Johnson about the attacks, he had not yet received any instructions from the British police.
Johnson was among a group of senior officials who visited London on Thursday and met with Khan to discuss the situation.
Khan said that while he was in London he had received no instruction from the police about the London attack, but added that the prime minister had spoken about the attack in an “urgent” statement to the nation.
Asked whether he believed the US government had been involved in the attacks or had made suggestions that the attacks could be traced back to Russia, Khan replied: “It’s very difficult to tell.”
He said that the UK had been “totally focused on the London Bridge attack and what happened on Friday”.
“It’s clear to me that there is an international element to it, that this is a Russian operation and I think we need to look at that,” he added.
At a news conference on Friday, Khan told the media that “terrorists” were “directly involved” in the attack.
A statement from London Police said that at about 5.45pm local time on Friday evening a man drove a vehicle into pedestrians on London Bridge, killing two people and injuring seven others.
The attacker, who police said was of Iranian origin, was shot dead by armed police.
The attack was the deadliest in Britain since the IRA bombed a pub in 1972 and left a number of people dead, with the latest toll to rise to 12 people.
Prime Minister Theresa May has vowed to get the threat level raised to critical and said police had a duty to protect Londoners, but the government has yet to say when or where it plans to do so.
Earlier in the day, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson had called on people to be vigilant and to “take responsibility for their lives” in a televised address to the British public.
“We have seen this before, we know what it’s like,” Johnson said.
“We will not let this happen again.
Londoners and tourists alike are urged to take their own lives.”
As the government scrambled to cope with the threat, the city of London was also reeling from another deadly terror attack.
On Saturday, two people were arrested in connection with an attack on a London subway train that occurred in the early hours of Sunday morning.
The attack, which left one person dead, was the latest in a string of attacks across London that have seen at least four people killed and hundreds injured in the last 24 hours.
Two people were also arrested in relation to an attack in central Paris, where two people have been killed and at least three others injured.