New Normal: London Puts Up Bridge Barriers To Prevent Vehicle Attacks

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Will Racke Immigration and Foreign Policy Reporter
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London has erected barriers along the sidewalks of several bridges in the heart of the city in response to the second terrorist attack in just over two months that used vehicles to run down pedestrians.

The concrete and steel dividers are part of a larger restriction of public spaces in London following an attack on Saturday night in which three jihadi terrorists mowed down pedestrians on London Bridge before jumping out of their van and stabbing people at random. The attackers managed to kill seven people and wound another 48 before London police shot all three to death.

British officials declined to say how many of the bridges are being retrofitted with barriers, but at least three bridges in the city center have already been modified, Sky News reported.

In the wake of the attack, multiple British media outlets reported that the City of London Corporation, the capital’s municipal governing body, decided against installing bollards or security railings on London Bridge area less than 24 hours before the incident. Many London residents had previously called on the city to provide additional security measure for pedestrians following a nearly identical attack on Westminster Bridge in March.

Witnesses of the London Bridge attack say the perpetrators were traveling about 50 miles per hour before they jumped the curb and plowed into a crowd of people on the bridge. At least one of victims is believed to have been killed after being struck by the speeding rental van, reports The Sun.

U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May said the the bridge attacks were evidence of a disturbing trend in terrorism: seemingly spontaneous attacks against soft targets that require almost no planning in advance.

“We believe we are experiencing a new trend in the threat we face, as terrorism breeds terrorism,” May said. “Perpetrators are inspired to attack not only on the basis of carefully constructed plots after years of planning and training—and not even as lone attackers radicalized online—but by copying one another and often using the crudest of means of attack.”

Following Saturday’s atrocity, Metropolitan Police commissioner Cressida Dick ordered additional patrols of armed officers on London’s streets. Police are focusing on the city’s many downtown bridges in an effort to deter any copycat attacks, reports the Independent.

London Bridge itself reopened to limited-capacity traffic Monday morning, while the nearby Underground station has returned to normal service.

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