Thousands In Manchester Take To The Streets In Show Of Defiance The people of Manchester are turning out in the thousands for a series of public events this weekend, despite last Monday's suicide bombing in the city.

Thousands In Manchester Take To The Streets In Show Of Defiance

  • Download
  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript


The operation to capture members of the Manchester bomber's cell is at full tilt, according to British Home Secretary Amber Rudd. She told the BBC this morning that others in his terror network could still be at large. Eleven people have been arrested so far in connection with the Monday night bombing at an Ariana Grande concert that killed 22 people and injured dozens. We go now to NPR's Eleanor Beardsley, who is in Manchester.

Good morning.


GARCIA-NAVARRO: Eleanor, the police released a video surveillance of the bomber at the concert venue. What does it show, and where's the investigation now?

BEARDSLEY: Well, it shows him with a little cap - baseball cap on and a knapsack walking - it's from the closed-circuit television cameras - on the night of the attack. And, you know, Amber Rudd, the home secretary, said they have made a lot of progress. Eleven people have been arrested, but they think that there could be others who were part of this bomb-making network who are still out there. And that is why they're appealing to the public to lead them to anyone who could have been related to this attack and who could be out there somewhere with these bomb-making capabilities.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Eleanor, I take it you've been talking to people. This news that there still might be people associated with the bomber out there must have people afraid. What is the mood there this weekend?

BEARDSLEY: The city is stricken and very sad. So there's a memorial to all the victims. And people are still bringing flowers and balloons. It's in a small square in town. But there's a defiant side that's coming out as well. Manchester residents, who are known as Mancunians, they say they refuse to stop living the way they do. I've been talking to people, and here's what they've told me.

SCOTT NEILD: Manchester's a city where, you know, we never give in. And we'll carry on no matter what. We did the same after the IRA bombings. We didn't let them get us down. And we're the same here. We're going to carry on no matter what. We're going to still come out and just say we're not going to let you win no matter what happens.

BEARDSLEY: Twenty-eight-year-old Scott Neild conveyed what a lot of Manchester natives are feeling. He's referring to the 1996 explosion set off by the Irish Republican Army here. The IRA carried out attacks across Britain for three decades as it tried to force the British army out of Northern Ireland. But the group gave a warning, and no one was killed in that 1996 blast.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: Thank you, Manchester, for coming out today to show your solidarity and support (ph).

BEARDSLEY: On this three-day bank holiday weekend, the city is hosting several previously planned concerts and sporting events. Nothing has been cancelled because of the concert attack. A track-and-field competition is being held in front of city hall, complete with pole vaulters soaring through the air. Retired toolmaker Michael Sherrod is watching with his grandson. He says he's proud of Manchester's resilience but tells me the attack is still on everyone's mind.

MICHAEL SHERROD: Horrific what happened, absolutely horrific. I lost my wife 12 months ago, and I was devastated. But to think that families have lost children - unthinkable. I can't imagine it at all.


BEARDSLEY: There have been signs of solidarity coming from all corners of Manchester, including its many tattoo parlors. Hundreds of people, like Sara McDonald and Reannin Kunna, have been lining up to get a small bee tattooed on their arm or leg. That emblem is special to this town.

SARA MCDONALD: It's the worker bee. Since the industrial revolution, I think, 200 years ago, that's been the symbol of the city. And so it means a lot to me to get it after what happened last week.

REANNIN KUNNA: You've got to get something to remember, haven't you? Like, remember everyone that's lost their lives, everyone that got injured. So it's like sort of saying we're all together. Everyone with the bee, it's like standing together.

BEARDSLEY: On a main shopping street, complete strangers are hugging each other. Nancy Nudds is leading the hugging. She and her fellow huggers have come to Manchester from surrounding towns to give comfort to the people of this stricken city. And passing Mancunians are happy to stop for an embrace.

NANCY NUDDS: What we wanted to show is that these events that happen around the world and the recent one in Manchester will not harden us as people. We won't harden our emotions or make us feel fearful.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #2: Oh, yes, (unintelligible).

BEARDSLEY: By a city park, a group of young Muslim men from a local mosque is giving a hot meal to the many homeless people in Manchester's city center. Sadij Waseem says the message they bring is especially important right now.

SADIJ WASEEM: Here's a clear-cut message - there's no such thing as terrorism in the religion Islam. It's all about peace and unity and harmony. If that wasn't the case, then we wouldn't be here today every single week for the last three years, you know, feeding people from our own hearts.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: So what we're hearing there is, as you say, defiance. But Manchester also has a sizable Muslim community. How are they reacting, Eleanor?

BEARDSLEY: You know, Lulu, they do. And as you know, Salman Abedi's parents were from Libya. They had fled Muammar Gaddafi's regime. I saw a lot of Muslims out yesterday, and they're just angry. They're weary. They're so tired of this happening again and again, they say, people using their peaceful religion to do horrible acts. Yesterday was the first day of Ramadan, and a lot of people expressed sadness because that is supposed to be a time of coming together for those in the Muslim faith. But the British government says hate attacks, both verbal and physical, have doubled since last week's bombing on the concert hall.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: That was NPR's Eleanor Beardsley. Thank you very much.

BEARDSLEY: You're welcome, Lulu.

Copyright © 2017 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.