UK citizens form human chain around Manchester's Gay Village to remember the victims in Orlando
Hundreds of people surrounded Manchester’s Gay Village in honor of those killed in the barbaric Orlando massacre.
Gunman Omar Mateen shot dead 49 people and injured 53 others in the horrific assault on the gay nightclub Pulse, in Florida, before dying in a gunfight with Swat officers.
Here in Manchester, bustling Canal Street came to a standstill on Monday evening as hundreds lined the streets and held hands to create a circle around the entire village.
The crowd fell completely silent as a lone singer gave an emotional rendition of Amazing Grace as part of a moving tribute to the dead.
Amongst those taking part in the mass handhold was Manchester’s first ever openly gay Lord Mayor Carl Austin Behan, who said described yesterday’s atrocity as a hate crime.
He told the M.E.N: “This attack was a hate crime on the LGBT community. Orlando has such a vibrant gay scene and for this to happen there is completely shocking.
“It’s overwhelming and extremely upsetting but so beautiful that everybody has come out today to support our friends and colleagues. I’m so proud of Manchester and our LGBT community.
“I don’t think anyone could have expected such an incredible turnout. This was a community led event which came about simply from a post on social media.”
Rainbow flags - symbolizing Gay Pride - were lowered outside Bar Pop, on Canal Street, yesterday in honor of those killed during the shooting.A spokesman for the bar said: “Manchester, our wonderful city with its history of struggle and LGBT and activism, has mobilized to remember the victims of the Orlando murders and stand with the worldwide LGBT community in saying NO to homophobia, hatred and gun crime, and YES to love and solidarity.”
A candlelit vigil is due to take place later tonight with Manchester’s Lesbian and Gay Chorus and the LGBT Foundation.
Councillors and representatives from the city’s Muslim community will host a civic event in Sackville Gardens by the Beacon of Hope from 9.30pm. Coronation Street actor and Manchester Pride Patron Antony Cotton will be at the ceremony along with ex-Corrie star Julie Hesmondhalgh.
The ceremony will culminate with a minute’s silence to honor those who lost their lives.
The city’s Book Of Condolences, which will be at the town hall for two weeks, has also been brought to the Gay Village.
Manchester Town Hall will be lit with rainbow colours, with the Union Flag at half-mast.
The attack at Pulse nightclub in Orlando took place 10 weeks before Manchester Pride - and it’s not yet known if the incident will impact on the event’s security.