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Orlando gay club shooting: Vigil to be held in London’s Soho at 7pm tonight

By Fabio Crispim

A vigil being held at Old Compton Street in Soho at 7pm tonight (June 13) to honour the victims of yesterday’s atrocity at a gay club in Orlando, Florida.

The event, ‘London Stands with Orlando’ as authorities continue to piece together the tragedy, in which at least 50 people were killed and a further 53 injured after gunman Omar Mateen opened fire on the packed LGBT venue.

Bars on Old Compton Street will stop serving at 7pm tonight, and attendees will head out to the streets to hold hands and pay tribute to those who lost their lives.

Hundreds of people have already confirmed that they will be attending the vigil on Facebook.

Leading LGBT figures in have been expressing solidarity with Orlando as the UK prepares to celebrate London Pride in less than two weeks time.

“It’s striking moments like this that remind us of the fragility of life but the strength of community,” said Pride in London Festival Curator Duncan Day. “The misfortune in this is that it does sometimes take an awful thing to take place to remind us of this strength.

“My thoughts are with the family and friends of those murdered, and I beg that we use this time to strip ourselves of any prejudice towards others to move ahead positively throughout Pride season 2016.”

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Alex Segre/REX (431033am) Old Compton Street, Soho VARIOUS, LONDON, BRITAIN

Tonight’s vigil in Soho comes after Pride in London organised a minute’s reflection in Trafalgar Square last night (June 12) to honour those who had died.

Michael Salter-Church, Chair of Pride in London, said: “Our hearts go out to all the families and friends of those who lost their lives in Orlando. it was a senseless attack, where it appears people were targeted for their sexuality.”

“In less than two weeks times, tens of thousands of people from all over the world will be coming to Pride in London. The horrific events in Orlando highlight that the campaign for respect and equality must go on within communities across the globe. On June 25th, together, we will honour the people who lost their lives, and stand united in a moment of solidarity, peace and remembrance.”

He added: “This has happened in our own city. It was only in 1999 that communities in Brixton, the East End and in Soho at the Admiral Duncan were targeted with lives lost and changed forever.

“It’s vital this horrific attack is not used to drive a wedge between communities here in the UK. We must all focus on what binds us rather than what separates us and stand in unity.”

You can find more information about tonight’s vigil on Old Compton Street on Facebook.

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