Published July 14, 2005
LONDON – Office workers wordlessly filled the streets, construction workers removed their hard hats and London's famous black cabs pulled to the side of the road as Britain silently paid tribute to the victims of four terrorist bombs that struck a week ago Thursday.
Queen Elizabeth II (search) stood motionless outside Buckingham Palace (search), and a crowd filled Trafalgar Square, where many could be seen wiping away tears and hanging their heads in prayer during the two-minute tribute that began at noon. The July 7 subway and bus attacks killed 53 and injured 700.
The silence was broken only by the tolling of Big Ben.
In the northern city of Leeds, the home of at least two of the four suicide bombers, young Muslims wearing prayer caps paused in silence before a series of speeches by local imam, a minister and community leaders.
Prime Minister Tony Blair (search) marked the silence in the garden of his official resident at 10 Downing St., where he hosted a reception for police officers receiving bravery awards not related to the bombings. In the House of Commons and the House of Lords, lawmakers broke off debates to join in the silence.
During the tribute, the usually thronging hordes of tourists outside Westminster Abbey (search) also fell silent. Vehicles came to a standstill in the usually busy Parliament Square, as taxi drivers and other motorists ignored the green signals on traffic lights.
"As we stand together in silence, let us send a message to the terrorists — you will not defeat us and you will not break us," said George Psaradakis, who was driving the double-decker bus that was bombed, killing 13 passengers.
Trucks, cars and mounted police all paused along the busy Euston Road outside King's Cross station, where a memorial garden has been a focus of the city's grief. Mayor Ken Livingstone (search) laid a wreath there, and hundreds stood silently at the station near the worst of the attacks — a subway train bombing that killed at least 21 people.
At the British Open in St. Andrews, Scotland, an airhorn signaled suspension of play and Tiger Woods took off his hat, closed his eyes and bowed his head at the 14th hole.
British television interrupted normal broadcasting to show photos of the aftermath of the bombings: soot-faced commuters fleeing in fear and paramedics tending to the injured.
People across Europe also paused. In Madrid, Spain, which was hit by Al Qaeda-linked train bombings that killed 191 people last year, Mayor Alberto Ruiz Gallardon and other officials observed the silence in a plaza outside town hall.
Pope Benedict XVI (search) prayed for the victims at his holiday retreat in the Italian Alps, the Vatican said.
Hundreds of people in Leeds gathered in silence outside the Hamara Living Center, where one suspect counseled disabled youths. With heads bowed, they faced the center and marked the moment.
"We condemn these terrorists and what they have done," said Munir Shah, the imam of the Stratford Street mosque near the Leeds neighborhood that police were searching. "We refuse to call them Muslims. They are not. Islam does not agree or teach about the killing of innocent people."