Greater Manchester’s mayor Andy Burnham (Lab) has condemned the “evil” terrorist attack at the Manchester Arena which has left 22 dead and 59 injured.
Manchester City Council leader, and deputy mayor, Sir Richard Leese (Lab) called the attack “a monstrous act but also a deeply futile one”.
At 10.33pm last night police were called following an explosion at the Manchester Arena just after an Ariana Grande concert had finished. Police believe the attacker, who died at the scene, detonated an improvised explosive device.
In a speech on the steps of Manchester town hall this morning Mr Burnham said: “After our darkest of nights, Manchester is today waking up to the most difficult of dawns.
“It is hard to believe what has happened here in the last few hours and to put into words the shock, anger and hurt that we feel today.
“These were children, young people and their families that those responsible chose to terrorise and kill. This was an evil act.”
While Manchester is “grieving” Mr Burnham said “it will be business as usual as far as possible in our great city” and praised residents.
“Even in the minutes after the attack, they opened their doors to strangers and drove them away from danger.
“They gave the best possible immediate response to those who seek to divide us.
“And it will be that spirit of Manchester that will prevail and hold us together.”
Sir Richard said it was “an absolutely horrifying incident” and added: “Manchester is a proud and strong city and we will not allow those who seek to sow fear and division to achieve their aims.”
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Home Secretary, Amber Rudd said it was “a barbaric attack deliberately targeting some of the most vulnerable in our society – young people and children out at a pop concert”.
She added: “The great city of Manchester has been affected by terrorism before. Its spirit was not bowed; its community continued.
”This time it has been a particular attack on the most vulnerable in our society – its intention was to sow fear – its intention is to divide. But it will not succeed.”
Prime minister Theresa May chaired a COBRa (Cabinet Office Briefing Room A) meeting Tuesday morning. LGC understands Mr Burnham, along with Greater Manchester Police’s chief constable Ian Hopkins, was present for that. In his capacity as Greater Manchester mayor Mr Burnham has responsibility for the police and crime commissioner functions.
Manchester City Council chief executive Joanne Roney tweeted a tribute to “all those affected” as well as those who responded to the incident. The city council has opened books of condolence at the town hall, while there is to be a vigil in the city’s Albert Square at 6pm tonight.
Trafford MBC leader Sean Anstee (Con) and Rochdale MBC leader Richard Farnell (Lab) also paid tribute on social media.
As the day dawns after a long dark night my thoughts are with all those affected & my thanks to staff& colleagues who responded #Manchester— Joanne Roney OBE (@joanneroney) May 23, 2017
People and businesses offering support in the face of tragedy is the true spirit of Manchester. Thoughts are with all those affected tonight— Sean Anstee (@seananstee) May 22, 2017
Still in shock at last night's horrendous events. Thoughts with those affected. Now more than ever, our communities must stay united— Richard Farnell (@Richardfarnell1) May 23, 2017