Thursday is a normal working day at openDemocracy’s office in Clerkenwell, London, the day we send our weekly email digest of material published on the site.

But this Thursday, 7 July 2005, central London was hit by a series of coordinated bombings which claimed the lives of at least 33 people and injured hundreds more. The disruption to the city’s transport network will be repaired, but the human losses and the scars will remain.

All of us at openDemocracy are safe. We warmly thank all those who today have sent us their concern and solidarity. We are moved by the humanity of these messages.

Today, London has rejoined that chain of cities and regions — from New York to Mombasa, Madrid to Istanbul, Casablanca to Bali — whose everyday citizens have suffered indiscriminate, violent assault. In face of it, we affirm our commitment to continue our work in the interests of a fairer, more just and peaceful world.

Tomorrow, we will send our regular weekly email. Today, our editor Isabel Hilton writes in defence of “the democratic values that terror seeks to destroy.”

It was a cruel contrast. On Wednesday Londoners rejoiced at the news that the city had won its Olympic bid. Thursday’s front pages were given over to scenes of jubilation. But as those editions reached the newsstands, London was already a darker, grimmer place, as a series of coordinated explosions ripped through its transport network.

The victims are still being rescued. The dead and injured are still being counted. We can only imagine the terror experienced by the thousands who were close to the explosions, some trapped in the darkened tunnels, dazed by the shock of what had overtaken them in the course of a normal journey to work. Millions more suffered that fear that grips the heart until friends and family can be reached. The dread, the deaths, the injuries, the lives devastated — this was London’s story today, as it has been the story of many others in many places, from Baghdad to New York, Paris to Bali, Madrid to Istanbul.

London is a city of diversity and tolerance, a multicultural capital, open, crowded and dynamic. These are the qualities that give it its vitality. The transport system is an easy target. Today the city is at a standstill; emergency services struggle to reach the trapped and the wounded.

Londoners have been stoic in the past in the face of terror. For thirty years the capital was the object of intermittent attack by the IRA, occasionally bombed, frequently disrupted. Each attack is an assault on the city’s trust and tolerance and it would be naive to imagine that these qualities are not at risk. But now is a moment to reaffirm those values — to resist blaming any community or faith for the actions of criminals, to defend traditions of justice, dissent and solidarity — that broad ground on which the democratic citizen stands.

Hundreds of thousands of these citizens have been in Scotland this week, gathering to demonstrate their discontent with the leaders of the G8, to argue for another path, for different priorities, for urgent attention to poverty in Africa and the cataclysmic threat of climate change. They are the voice of the democratic values that terror seeks to destroy.

London is a wounded city today. Other attacks may follow. How should we, democratic citizens, respond? Terror alone cannot destroy democracy, but it can provoke us to do so. It is for the police to find the perpetrators, it is for the citizen to insist that the state must not do what terror cannot, it is for government — however provoked — to honour and defend our liberties.