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Posted 2017-05-23 09:24:53 - by Hà Trung Thành
flowersImage copyright Christopher Furlong
Image caption The streets of Manchester are deserted in the wake of the attack at the arena

I knew this morning would feel different. Sombre. Subdued. But I wasn't sure if that was just me being sensitive - I grew up around the city.

The train I catch to the city centre is normally heaving. This morning it was like a ghost service. Where they can, city commuters are keeping away.

Stepping off the train at Salford Central station, which is the nearest stop to the police cordon, the police helicopter was flying low, drowning out the noise of the cars on the roads.

Deansgate, usually one of the busiest roads in the centre, feels empty. Not the hustle and bustle of the day and weeks before.

But despite the horrors of the night, and the armed police patrolling the area, people are going about their day. I hear phone calls where people tell their loved ones to stay safe.

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Image caption Joe Barrass, Subrata Sen and Naomi Hancock say Manchester is a strong city

Sitting wearily by a police cordon near Market Street is 19-year-old Joe Barrass. He worked an overnight shift and helped injured people.

He told me taxi drivers were giving free lifts home to people and hotels were helping the injured.

"It's only just started to sink in, I feel numb." he said.

"But it felt like the city came together. It's a tragedy. They were children, teenagers, the fact they had gone after the truly innocent is shocking.

"No-one expected this - let alone at an Ariana Grande concert gig. Stuff like this will never win.

"These people haven't succeeded with what they wanted to do. The love is here for Manchester. They have failed."

Image copyright Christopher Furlong
Image caption People stop and look over the police tape, some on their own, others in pairs

A woman, who asked to remain anonymous, agrees. She said she was shocked and disgusted - but determined not to be afraid.

"They are not going to beat us. It's subdued here, but we're defiant. It's quiet but people are walking around. I think whoever has done this is a total coward."

Naomi Hancock, 25, from Radcliffe in Greater Manchester, said it "feels really eerie. It's so quiet, a totally different city".

"It makes me think what kind of world we live in. Manchester is a strong city and I hope we can get through it."

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption People affected by the attack look out from a hotel window in Manchester

Subrata Sen, a 46-year-old from Bangalore, is visiting Manchester for work and was staying near to the blast site.

He said: "It's really sad. At first we thought something had fallen down, nobody knew what had happened. Manchester is such a welcoming city, it's a warm city.

"People are going about their way of life. We have to carry on, show resilience."

No-one is sitting at the usually crowded fountain at Exchange Square, or walking through the cathedral or past the shops.

People stop and look over the police tape. Some on their own, others in pairs. No noise. Just looking. People pay their respects with flowers, a bunch is left on Corporation Street.

This morning Manchester is not the city I know, love and grew up with. But it's remaining strong.

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