Nicola Sturgeon said the Scottish people stood “in solidarity” with London as she sent heartfelt condolences to those who lost loved ones in the Westminster attack.
At a sombre First Minister’s Questions, Ms Sturgeon paid tribute to the courage of the emergency services and said her “thoughts and prayers” were with the family of PC Keith Palmer, who was murdered by the attacker.
“Let me express - on behalf of the chamber and our country - my shock and sadness at the heinous attack on Westminster yesterday afternoon,” Ms Sturgeon said.
“We send our heartfelt condolences to those who have lost loved ones, and our thoughts to all those who sustained injuries.
“Many of us in this chamber have friends and colleagues, indeed some of us have family members, who work within the Palace of Westminster - parliamentarians, staff and journalists. Yesterday was a harrowing day for all of them - and they have our support and good wishes.
“Above all, we stand in solidarity with London - a vibrant, diverse, wonderful city that will never be cowed by mindless acts of violence.
“This attack stands, of course, as a stark reminder of the dangerous jobs that our emergency services do every day on our behalf. Yesterday, a Metropolitan police office went to work to protect and defend democracy and did not return home. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of PC Keith Palmer.
However, today we should also express our appreciation to police men and women across the country who risk their lives every day in the line of duty. To the police and security staff who keep us safe here in our own parliament, we say thank you.”
As flags flew at half mast outside Holyrood, the First Minister agreed with sentiments expressed by Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson, who urged people to stand united against terrorism and warned against vilifying communities.
Ms Davidson said: “The lesson here is not to tar one religion or one group in the coming days – but to tackle the evil of terrorist ideology itself.
“Not to vilify or blame whole communities, but instead to show we all stand united against terror, and stand united in defeating it.”
Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale made a similar point.
“No matter the religion, nationality or identity of the attacker, this cannot and must not turn into a war on any one community,” Ms Dugdale said..
“Bringing people together must be part of the solution to tackling terror, rather than creating further division within communities.
“We must send a strong message that Britain remains an open and tolerant nation that is home to people of all faiths and nationalities.
“The best message we can send following this terrorist attack is that we will remain true to the values of tolerance and integration, freedom and solidarity.