A vigil took place yesterday evening at Leicester’s Town Hall, allowing hundreds of people to pay their respects to the victims of Sunday’s horrific gun attack on a gay nightclub in Orlando.
Gunman Omar Mateen opened fire on Pulse nightclub at 2am leaving 49 people dead and dozens injured.
People of all faiths stood together with the LGBT community in silent solidarity at 6:30pm. Many brought along flowers, rainbow flags and lit candles in memory of those whose lives were brutally taken.
Mark Beasley, Chair of the Leicester LGBT Centre shared his thoughts on the devastating attacks: “We’re shocked as a community; we felt that we needed to mark it in some kind of way, to show our support for those in Orlando. Our love and heartfelt sorrow goes out to all of those which have been affected.”
Riaz Ravat, Deputy Director at St Philips Centre in Leicester, said: “I wish we weren’t here, but we are here and this is the way of the world, this is the situation that we’re faced with.
“This is a great turnout and the more that we can have a public condemnation, the better it is because we have to set the tone for the kind of society we want to live in,” he said.
Many people held up handmade signs for the vigil with the words ‘love, Peace, Hope’ and ‘Love Unites Hate Divides.’
A member of the public who paid her respects said: “I was absolutely heart-broken when I heard the news, how somebody thinks they have the right go and do that is unbelievable. Everybody has the right to love and do and be who they want to be. It’s the 21st century and I feel like this has made us go back so many years.”
Police and Crime Commissioner for Leicestershire, Willy Bach said: “I’m very moved this evening to see the number of people who came down to Town Hall Square, held hands and showed their respect for all of those who had lost their lives and been injured in this appalling incident.”