British Muslims hand out 3,000 red roses on London Bridge in gesture of 'love and solidarity'

'We are not going to let London Bridge, or any bridge, fall down'

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The Independent Online

A group of British Muslims have handed out thousands of red roses on London Bridge, in a gesture of “love and solidarity” following the recent terrorist attack.

Well-wishers from across the city laid flowers at the scene, where eight people died and dozens more were injured after three terrorists drove a van in crowds before leaping out and randomly stabbing people.

The informal group known as 1000 Roses came together following the attack. 

Led by British Muslims, people donated £600 to pay for the flowers which were handed to anyone who found themselves at the same spot as the scene of tragedy. 

Each rose carried ‘messages of love to the world’, the organisers said.

“While the shock waves still reverberate, we remain standing in defiance of those who would divide us,” the group said on Facebook.

One of the organisers, Zakia Bassou, said: “After the events of last weekend we are making a symbolic gesture of love for the communities affected by the attack.

“The whole concept is we are not going to let London Bridge, or any bridge, fall down."

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Many respondents were visibly emotional as they received the flowers. 

“I think it’s lovely, it’s what London is actually about as a city,” said Londoner Elida Ercolano. “It’s what people should remember despite what’s gone on. It’s a great symbol and if nothing else it’s bringing people together.

“It’s very easy to believe the fear, but boil it down and we are actually, in the main, good people and we should remember that.”

Nancy Cannata, 61, from Massachusetts in the US, said: "It's very nice to see. And I think it's nice that they're Muslims - it's not everybody in the Muslim community carrying out these attacks. There are good and bad people in every religion, and I wish people could realise that."

Ms Cannata was visiting London Bridge as part of a long-planned holiday to the UK with her husband, Gaetano, 63. The couple booked the trip in October last year, and said they had never considered changing their plans. 

"We felt it would be safe and that there would actually be even more security, and we can see that's the case. We feel very safe," he said. "We just hope the world is heading in a better direction."