A recent incident at Oxford Circus Tube Station, described by eyewitnesses as the sound of gunshots, has been declared a false alarm by police in London. The incident took place just a couple of hours ago after reports came in of apparent gunshots at Oxford Circus Tube station. People ran out of the station, fearful of reports of gunfire and the start of another terror attack.
Police responded immediately, shutting down Oxford Circus Station and the street itself as well as Bond Street station. Traffic was halted and nearby businesses followed security procedures, locking down their building and ushering customers to safety until the all-clear was given. The police were said to have responded as though it was a terror-related incident which, given the recent attacks on the UK, is understandable.
Luckily, the incident appears to have been a false alarm, with some sources claiming that it was an electrical failure that merely seemed to sound like gunshots. One minor injury has been reported, likely a result of the initial panic. The Metropolitan Police have declared the incident to be officially over and Oxford Circus has been re-opened as well as both Tube stations. People are already crowding the streets. Seeing the images and videos now, it’s almost as if nothing really happened. The Met has said that they will still put extra police on duty to reassure the public.
Despite the false alarm, the sense of fear is palpable. The terror alert in the UK is at severe level, meaning that the likelihood of a terror attack is high though not imminent. Police are on constant alert for any threats and people are constantly vigilant after the recent spate of attacks in the UK. London, with its crowded streets and public transport, is a favorite target for many terrorists, much like any other city. An attack on London, following so swiftly after news of the attack in Egypt, would be even more frightening. In addition,
In addition, London is currently in the middle of Black Friday with people traveling from work and possibly hoping to snatch a few deals before heading home. As such, shops are filling up fast and public transport is bearing its usual weight of hundreds of thousands. With tensions as high as they are, it is not surprising that any hint of an attack would be taken seriously, especially on a busy day like today in London.
Thankfully, today’s incident was a false alarm. Many are a little shaken but Londoners, like the rest of their countrymen, are resilient. Once again, Britain’s police force delivered. The swiftness of their response is a credit to London’s security forces, as is the calm and measured response from many of the businesses in the area. London and its inhabitants are safe for the moment.
From the Blitz to the IRA, from 7/7 to the Iranian Embassy siege, London has always been at risk of attack. Yet still, time and time again, the spirit of those who live and work in the city never falters or wavers, even in the darkest of times.