UK police investigate Speakers’ Corner knife attack

July 26, 2021 GMT

LONDON (AP) — London police are looking for witnesses after an attacker slashed a woman with a knife at Speakers’ Corner, the historic spot in Hyde Park where people have gathered to speak and debate for more than 150 years.

Video shared on social media appears to show someone dressed in black approaching a woman wearing a Charlie Hebdo T-shirt on Sunday. The woman is later shown with what appears to be blood on her face as police officers help her. Police say her injuries are not considered life-threatening.

Detective Superintendent Alex Bingley of the Metropolitan Police Service’s Central West Command Unit asked people “not to speculate on the motive for the attack until we have established the full facts.”

People have gathered at Speakers’ Corner since the 1860s to exercise their right to free speech, with historic figures such as Karl Marx, Vladimir Lenin and George Orwell known to have visited to discuss the issues of the day. In recent years, topics such as Islamic fundamentalism have often featured in the debate.

Islamic extremists attacked the offices of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in January 2015, killing 12 people. The attack made the magazine, which had published a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammed, a symbol of freedom of speech.