As tributes continue to pour in for the soldier killed on the streets of London on Wednesday, Britain’s Communities Minister has defended the security services.
Eric Pickles praised the thwarting of “a number of similar plots” after it emerged the two suspects had been known by British intelligence agency MI5.
Michael Olumide Adebolajo, 28, and a second suspect not yet named are being treated in separate hospitals after being shot by armed police. The two men have not been questioned yet.
The soldier’s killing has been condemned by religious and community leaders across the country.
Speaking at a gathering of some of these leaders, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg praised their response.
“Terrorism has no religion, because there is no religious conviction that can justify the kind of arbitrary, savage, random violence that we saw on the streets of Woolwich. So thank you for speaking out as forcefully as you have done,” said Clegg.
The website for military support charity Help for Heroes crashed under the weight of new donations.
One woman described why she had chosen to leave flowers close to the scene of the killing in South London.
“It’s touched me, it really has. People should come out and lay as many flowers as they can. [Our feelings about the killings should be expressed] through protest… not [by] marching through the streets and taking it out on the police. Show it through flowers – and that’s what I’ve come here today to do,” she said.
Pointing at the floral tributes, another man added: “Look at all the flowers. We are sending a message out. We will stand together as a community.”
Drummer Lee Rigby had served in Afghanistan for six months in 2009. The twenty-five year old’s family said he had wanted to be in the army since he was a little boy.