United in silence against terror
Gibraltar yesterday stood in solidarity with Spain yesterday, honouring those who died in Thursday’s terrorist attacks with a minute’s silence in Convent Place.
As the clock struck noon, staff at No.6 Convent Place and The Convent bowed their heads to pay their respects.
Traffic came to a halt with passers-by stopping to join in the solemn event.
Similar acts were taking place across Spain, including one in Barcelona attended by thousands of people including Spain’s King Felipe, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and Catalonia regional President Carles Puigdemont.
In the Campo de Gibraltar, staff at the town councils of La Linea, San Roque and Algeciras gathered in silence to mark the memory of the 14 people killed in a van rampage on Barcelona’s famous Las Ramblas.
In the early hours of Friday in Cambrils, Spanish police shot and killed five people carrying fake bomb belts who were connected to the Barcelona van attack, as the manhunt intensified for the perpetrators of Europe's latest rampage claimed by the Islamic State group.
In Gibraltar, the Gibraltar Contingency Council met to review security following the latest
developments in Spain.
The threat level for Gibraltar remained unchanged at ‘Substantial’, although the public may see an increased uniformed police presence.
A ‘substantial’ threat level means an attack remains a strong possibility, but there is no specific intelligence to suggest an increase in the threat to Gibraltar.
“As ever, the public are asked to remain vigilant and to report any security concerns to the Royal Gibraltar Police,” the GCC said in a statement.
At midday yesterday, Chief Minister Fabian Picardo, Deputy Governor Nick Pyle and Colonel Frank Green, the chief of staff at HQ British Forces Gibraltar, led the minute’s silence in Convent Place.
“Barcelona is in our hearts, those who have lost their lives are in our heart and in our thoughts as are their families and friends,” Mr Picardo said.
“We must see an end to this senseless killing, but none of us know how to bring that about.”
Mr Picardo has also sent out a message of solidarity to President of the Catalan Regional Government, Carles Puidemont, to the Mayor of Barcelona, Ada Colau, and to the Spanish Minister of the interior, Juan Zoido, in order to convey the heartfelt condolences of the people of Gibraltar.
“Gibraltar mourns the tragic loss of innocent lives and stands firmly with Catalunya in condemning these cowardly acts of violence in the strongest possible terms,” Mr Picardo said.
“As a mark of respect and of defiance, the flags have been lowered on public buildings and the lights on our national monuments, the Moorish Castle and the North Face of the Rock, will be switched off in mourning and to mark our respect for the three days of mourning declared in Spain.”
“Barbaric terrorism can never and will never win over human solidarity, respect and decency. Today, our differences with Spain don't matter, what matters is our humanity and empathy in the face of these barbaric acts of terrorism.”
He announced that the face of the Rock and Moorish Castle will not be lit up as Gibraltar will be in mourning for a period of three days starting yesterday.
Lieutenant General Governor Edward Davis was away from the Rock yesterday but tweeted his condolences.
“Sympathy, support and solidarity with our Spanish friends. Prayers for the victims and their families,” the Governor wrote.
The Leader of the Opposition, Roy Clinton, also sent a message of solidarity and support.
“Sickening attack in Barcelona! Thoughts and prayers with those affected and injured. Act of cowardice which will never succeed,” he tweeted.
Independent MPs Marlene Hassan Nahon and Lawrence Llamas took to twitter as well to send their support.
“Another senseless act of terror fuelled by hatred, in a beautiful city with an incredible spirit. Sending strength and love,” said Ms Hassan Nahon.
Mr Llamas tweeted: “Coward and evil attack on innocent people, thoughts and prayers with victims and families #unitedagainsthate #TerroristAttack #Barcelona.”
In La Linea, the city’s mayor Juan Franco said he trusted the authorities in Spain would take appropriate measures “to prevent another painful situation such as this”.
San Roque mayor Juan Carlos Ruiz Boix read a manifesto outside the town hall expressing "…our most energetic condemnation of this criminal attack and our repulsion at this absurdity, barbarism and terrorism."
The Algeciras protest was supported by parliamentarians and former parliamentarians, the mayor Jose Ignacio Landaluce, other former mayors and the president of the Mancomunidad in the Campo, Luis Angel Fernandez.
A young girl, Marina Rosado, read a join manifesto on behalf of the city to highlight "the key role that the society has to play in order to erradicate terrorism from our lives."
“Our voices are united in silence to shout against terrorism.”
In the UK, Prime Minister Theresa May said she was “sickened by the senseless loss of life in Barcelona” following Thursday’s deadly attack.
Mrs May condemned the “terrible” assault in the Spanish city which saw a van plough into pedestrians and follows similar attacks in London in recent months.
She said: “My thoughts are with the victims of today’s terrible attack in Barcelona and the emergency services responding to this ongoing incident.”
“The UK stands with Spain against terror.”
In a written statement, Mrs May added: “I am sickened by the senseless loss of life in Barcelona today.”
“The Foreign Office is working to establish if any British nationals were involved in this appalling incident and we are in close contact with the authorities in Spain, who have our full support.”
“Following the attacks in Manchester and London, Spain stood alongside the British people. Tonight, Britain stands with Spain against the evil of terrorism.”
Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London, said London stood with Barcelona “against the evil terrorism” following recent attacks in Westminster, London Bridge and Finsbury Park.”
Mr Khan wrote on Twitter: “My thoughts are with the victims of this barbaric terrorist attack in the great city of Barcelona and with their brave emergency services.”
“London stands with Barcelona against the evil of terrorism.”
A number of other high-profile figures also voiced support for the Barcelona victims.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn tweeted: “Terrible reports from Barcelona. My thoughts are with those killed and injured, and the emergency services working to save lives.”
Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said: “Concerned and saddened by #Barcelona attack. Our thoughts are with those affected. Doing all we can to identify whether Brits need help.”
Additional reporting by María Jesús Corrales