News / Society

Thousands attend vigil for Orlando victims

By martin booth, Tuesday Jun 14, 2016

Rainbow flags fluttered in the breeze on College Green as an estimated 2,000 people attended a vigil in memory of the victims of the Orlando atrocity.

The rainbow flags were matched by many of the rainbow epaulets worn by police officers at the sombre and moving vigil, which saw people from across Bristol and further afield stand together to remember the 49 victims of the attack at the Pulse gay nightclub.

“Bristol has made me proud today with the show of solidarity across the community,” said one of the vigil’s organisers Daryn Carter as he addressed the crowd in front of City Hall.

“This was an LGBT hate crime organised against our community.”

He added: “We will not live in fear. We will not be driven back into the closet. Together we will overcome hatred. Love will always win.”

Daryn Carter addresses the crowd

Bristol mayor Marvin Rees described the scene before him as “overwhelming”.

He said: “The kind of Bristol we want to be is one in which we work to live as equals.”

He also quoted Marvin Luther King during his short address: “In the end, we remember not the words of our enemies but the silence of our friends.”

Other people addressing the crowds were Alex Raikes from Stand Against Racism & Inequality (SARI), Avon & Somerset Police chief constable Andy Marsh, chair of the Council of Bristol Mosques Arif Khan, chair of Building the Bridge Zaheer Shabir and the dean of Bristol David Hoyle.

After the speeches were over, the crowd parted to allow Sing Out Bristol choir to perform in the centre of the throng, including a poignant rendition of Mad World.

Sing Out Bristol perform


Main photo by Colin Moody

Read more: Bristol Pride announces full lineup

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