London Bridge attack: PM May calls for robust counter-terrorism strategy, insists general elections will go ahead on June 8

Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May makes a statement in Downing Street, London, after chairing a meeting of the Government’s emergency Cobra committee following Saturday night’s terrorist incident in London. (PA via AP)

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British Prime Minister Theresa May has insisted that the country’s parliamentary elections will go ahead as planned on June 8, despite the Sunday terror attack in London that left seven people dead and 48 injured, according to Reuters. She also stated that violence should never be allowed to disrupt the country’s democratic process, adding that campaigning for the same will resume from the next day itself.

In the wake of the attack, several political parties including May’s Conservatives and the main opposition Labour Party suspended election campaigning for general polls for the second time on Sunday. ¬†“As a mark of respect the two political parties have suspended our national campaigns for today, but violence can never be allowed to disrupt the democratic process, so those campaigns will resume in full tomorrow and the general election will go ahead as planned on Thursday,” May said in a televised statement in front of her Downing Street office.

Panic descended on the city once again as three knife-wielding attackers unleashed a terror rampage by ploughing a high-speed van into pedestrians on the iconic London Bridge before stabbing revellers in a nearby market. The latest attack came almost two weeks after 22 people were killed in a bombing at a concert in Manchester. This was also the third deadly attack in less than three months in Britain.

London Attacks: This photo taken by photographer Gabriele Sciotto shows a man, foreground, one of the suspects. (Source: AP)

Condemning the attack, the UK Prime Minister said the country is experiencing a new trend as terrorism breeds terrorism and that perpetrators are inspired to act. She also called upon his countrymen to come together to confront this extremism.

“First thing is all these attacks are bound together by an evil ideology that is a perversion of Islam and perversion of the truth,” May said, pointing out that this¬†particular ideology cannot be defeated through military intervention alone. She said they need to defend the country’s ingrained pluralistic values that are superior to anything offered by “preachers of hate.”

“We cannot allow this ideology the safe space it needs to breed. Yet that is precisely what the internet and the big companies that provide internet-based services provide,” May said. “We need to work with allied democratic governments to reach international agreements that regulate cyberspace.”

Asserting that there is a need for a robust counter-terrorism strategy in light of the changing threat, May said if situation demands an increase in jail sentences for terrorism-related offences, even apparently minor ones, then it would be put into effect.

According to witnesses, the assailants were shouting “This is for Allah” before they attacking people indiscriminately. Police said armed officers acted promptly and shot dead all three attackers, who were wearing fake explosive vests, within minutes of receiving reports of the attack.

With inputs from Reuters.

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