British ceremonies mark 10th anniversary of 9/11

11th September 2011, Comments 0 comments

Prince Charles and Prime Minister David Cameron joined relatives of the 67 British victims of the September 11 attacks at a service in London on Sunday marking 10 years since the atrocity.

Charles, the heir to the throne, said it was only through "avoiding vengefulness that we can rebuild what has been lost", at a ceremony in the September 11 memorial garden in Grosvenor Square outside the US embassy.

Earlier, around 2,000 people gathered at St. Paul's Cathedral to remember those killed in the 2001 attacks on the United States.

Outside Grosvenor Square, a small group of Islamist demonstrators chanted slogans, waved placards and burned a paper version of the US flag.

In his address, Charles said the "premeditated death and destruction" of the attacks had "shocked the entire world".

He said that at the heart of the tragedy were the "shattered lives and hopes of all those who we join here today, both in London and New York; those whose loved ones were so cruelly, brutally and pointlessly torn from them.

"That was 10 years ago, and for so many of those left behind it must be an eternity; a continuing, awful agony that has to be endured day by day.

"We cannot change the past, but through struggling to find a light that can lighten the darkness we may ultimately bring the healing the world so desperately needs."

Louis Susman, the US ambassador to Britain, told the ceremony: "The ultimate aim of the 9/11 attacks to destroy our way of life failed -- it failed utterly."

In what has become a poignant tradition on every anniversary, the bereaved relatives read out the names of the British victims and laid a white rose for each one on the memorial stone.

Dhiraj Parmar, whose brother Manoj died, said: "The ceremony brought (the past) 10 years back. It was a very sad day for us -- after 10 years I found even more sadness."

Outside the square, behind barricades, Islamist demonstrators chanted "USA terrorists" and brandished anti-American placards with slogans such as "Islam will dominate the world".

Members of the right-wing English Defence League group staged a counter-rally, with one member shouting "Scumbags, you should be ashamed of yourselves".

A small group of Muslims held another counter-demonstration against Islamic extremism, with signs reading "If you want Sharia, move to Saudi".

Earlier, a service was held at St. Paul's Cathedral, at which prayers were led by people who lost loved ones in the atrocity.

Among those present was Courtney Cowart, who survived the attacks despite being buried under rubble when the north tower of the World Trade Center collapsed.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague meanwhile said that Al-Qaeda, which orchestrated the attacks, was "weaker than at any time in the decade since 9/11".

"Political progress through peaceful protest in the Middle East and North Africa has shown (Al-Qaeda) to be increasingly irrelevant to the future," he said in a statement.

© 2011 AFP

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