Manchester attack: Veil of quiet respect descends over city

A man passes a display of "I love MCR" signs in the window of an estate agent"s in Manchester Image copyright AFP/Getty Images
Image caption A man passes a display of "I love MCR" signs in the window of an estate agent's in Manchester

A veil of silence and quiet respect has descended over Manchester as people try to get back to a sense of routine. But as the city continues to mourn, many say they are struggling to readjust to normality.

Tuesday's proud show of solidarity and defiance at a vigil in Albert Square appears to have given way to a sense of deep sadness, with dozens of people pausing to read the many tributes left around the city centre.

Among the cards and flowers at St Peter's Square, a T-shirt emblazoned with a Union Jack reads simply "Isis coward".

Image caption Commuter Mark Paxton stopped to read the tributes on his way to work

A large placard reads: "You will not win. We stand together".

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As well as the anger and sadness, father-of-one Mark Paxton says he sensed a nervousness among the morning commuters.

"I think in many ways people are now reflecting, and even pausing to consider their own personal safety," he said.

"I certainly felt that here today. No-one knows quite what to make of everything that's happened.

"There's a sense of people getting back to their lives now, because that's what we must do, but I think it's important to take a breath, take time to reflect.

"It makes you think about your own family too. I have a little boy who's six. I said to him earlier, 'I love you. You do know that, don't you?'."

German tourist Christoph Schmidt arrived in the city earlier as part of a two-part visit to Manchester and Liverpool.

He said it is hard to describe how it feels arriving in a city in shock.

"It's just unbelievable," he said.

"I have a small family and I love them very much, so that makes it even more hard to think about.

"I can see the aim of the Manchester people is to carry on living as normal, and that's the right thing to do."

Many people returning to work say they have been touched by the compassion and consideration shown by bosses and managers.

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Image caption A woman wipes her eye as she looks at flowers in Albert Square a day after a vigil was held there

Mr Paxton, who has lived in and around the city since 2005 and works in advertising, said he was urged to work from home the day after the bombing.

"There have been lots of supportive emails going around, and lots of friendly conversations," he said.

"We have colleagues in London who've obviously been through this kind of thing before, so that's something too.

"I think people understand that it's important to take a breath."

Emma Wrigley, a 24-year-old PA from Chadderton, said people are "struggling to process" what's happened.

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Image caption Armed police officer are stationed outside Manchester Piccadilly train station on Wednesday

"It's just a funny feeling. It's so quiet around the city today. It's not normally like this. It's scary, really.

"It's a bit unreal. Obviously you think about [the chance of terror attack] but you never think it's going to happen near you."

Lucy Jefferies, of Ashton, said: "It's like nobody can understand. Nobody really knows what to think. But everybody is being really friendly and at the end of the day that's the best thing we can do."

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