Hundreds Attend Glasgow Vigil For Orlando Victims

14 June 2016, 06:36

orlando vigil

Hundreds of people have lit candles and laid flowers in Glasgow in memory of the 49 people killed in the deadliest mass shooting in US history.

The names of the victims gunned down at the gay nightclub Pulse in Orlando, Florida, on Sunday, were read aloud in George Square.

Rainbow Pride flags - a symbol of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community - were planted in the square and cards and messages were laid beside flowers and candles.

Glasgow Provost Sadie Docherty told the 600-strong crowd that the city stood in solidarity with Orlando and she placed a bouquet in the square which had a Scottish and US flag inside it.

Banners places in the George Square include ones from the Scottish Trades Union Congress and the Afghan Human Rights Foundation.

Messages left in the square included "our love is stronger than the hate'' and "no homophobia, no transphobia, no islamiphobia''.

Two on-duty police officers were among those who lit candles and were applauded by the crowd.

Organiser Ciara McGuire said: "We're from Free Pride which is an LGBT community group in Glasgow and we just felt we needed a place where people could come and be around friends and get support from people and show solidarity with the people in Orlando as well.

"It felt really important to be around other LGBTQ people and have that support. Although it's an awful thing that happened, it's good that we have this strong community and we can express that grief with other people.''

On seeing the size of the crowd, the 23-year-old said: "It's really overwhelming, I only just realised how many people have shown up which is really nice. Obviously it's resonated with a lot of people.''

A similar vigil has also been organised in Edinburgh on Wednesday.

Earlier, the Pride flag was raised at the Scottish Government's headquarters in Edinburgh.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon tweeted: "Scotland stands in solidarity with the people of Orlando, and LGBTI communities across the world.''

The flag was also flying at half mast above Glasgow City Chambers, overlooking George Square.

Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale, who confirmed she was gay two months ago, described the attack as "utterly heart-breaking''.

She said: "This looks to have been an attack on the very freedom to love who you want to love. We stand in solidarity with the entire LGBT community and the vast majority of Americans who will oppose this hate.''

Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson, who proposed to her partner Jennifer Wilson last month, tweeted: "News from Orlando is shocking - people from all around the world stand with the LGBTQ community today.''

Lib Dem MSP Alex Cole-Hamilton has put forward a Holyrood motion condemning the killings and calling on ``people across Scotland to unite as one community in solidarity with all those affected''.

Joanna Branch, a student from South Carolina, read aloud the names of the 49 who died at the Glasgow vigil.

She said: "We're here to mourn the loss of lives at a nightclub where people thought they were safe to be who they wanted to be.

"We mourn for the people who lost their lives, their friends and family and those injured.''

Rev Kelvin Holdsworth: "It's a feeling that something has to be done, even if it's just standing beside one another. We need to change the homophobia that's still present in society. Scotland's a great place to be gay but there's still a lot to do all across the world.

"Although we stand in utter outrage at what happened in Orlando, we know that things need to be done - in some places people can't hold hands or kiss in public and some institutions still aren't safe places for gay people.''