London

Woolwich killing: 'This community will stand firm'

Police carry floral tributes
Image caption Woolwich last saw terror on its streets in 1974

BBC London television journalist Asad Ahmad grew up in Woolwich and has spent the day assessing how Wednesday's brutal killing of a soldier has affected his home town.

The day after the shocking and barbaric attack in Woolwich does it feel like a different place to live?

Obviously yesterday's attack is the talk of the town.

Police cordons are still in place as detectives try to piece together exactly what happened and you can't move in the town centre without bumping into the press and media who have now descended from all over the world.

What's very clear, very quickly is that it's not uncommon to hear local people say that this sickening attack won't split the community because, if it did, then the attackers would have achieved their goal.

This is a community which is no stranger to terrorism.

Back in 1974 the IRA bombed the pub in Woolwich across the road from the Army barracks as well as planting a bomb in Guilford that same night. Two people died in Woolwich but the community, many of whom still live in the area, remember how they came together at the time.

Sticking together

Even a couple of years ago, at the time of the London riots, Woolwich was affected by rioting and looting like many other places but people quickly came together to condemn the rioters and join together to write messages of support and unity in the centre of town.

It really helped to bring everyone together at a time of need.

This isn't a place that falls apart easily. It's generally a working class area where some old fashioned ideas about sticking together and supporting your neighbours, whoever they are, still exist.

It's probably why some members of the public who witnessed what happened yesterday faced the attackers who were still armed.

Others went to help the victim even though the two attackers stood over him with bloodied knives.

It's not a fact that's gone unnoticed.

Image caption Boris Johnson visited Woolwich on Thursday

Boris Johnson, the mayor of London, has urged Londoners to follow the example of the people of Woolwich in the way they dealt with the attack.

Nobody would say that the area is the most beautiful part of the capital but there are many who would say the attitude of the people there is amongst the most positive you might find in London.

But let's not pretend that people aren't shocked and horrified about what happened.

Woolwich's association with the Army goes back hundreds of years and as the local council leader said on Wednesday an attack on the barracks is an attack on the very people of Woolwich.

The people are used to seeing army personnel with their families in town and just last year they welcomed the King's Troop Parade with their ceremonial horses with open arms.

This is a diverse area of London offering some of the best of what London has to give.

It is why this attack has devastated this community and it is also why the community will undoubtedly stand firm.

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