Vigils held across UK for victims of Manchester terror attack
Thousands have gathered in city centres out of defiance and respect.
Vigils have taken place across the UK in the wake of the terror attack on Manchester Arena.
The attack on Monday night killed 22 people and injured 59 others and the ceremonies have been held to pay respects to victims.
Thousands of people gathered in the centre of Manchester in a show of defiance, declaring they will not be “beaten” or “intimidated” in the wake of the terror attack.
Crowds spilled from Albert Square on to nearby roads, standing together in an act of solidarity.
“We felt we wanted to show a sense of solidarity and commitment that Manchester always has,” said Lu Bowen, 40, who brought flowers to lay as a mark of respect. “When the chips are down, Manchester always pulls together.”
The vigil was attended by senior figures including Home Secretary Amber Rudd, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, Speaker John Bercow and Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham.
Statements were read by the Lord Mayor of Manchester Eddy Newman and Greater Manchester Police’s Ian Hopkins, who thanked those who had worked “tirelessly” through the night, “members of the public for their solidarity” and “the rest of the world for holding us in their thoughts”.
The packed square fell silent as they remembered the lives of those who died.
Afterwards poet Tony Walsh read his poem This Is The Place which sparked ripples of laughter, lightening the mood as the sun beamed on the Town Hall, before adding: “Forever Manchester. Choose love Manchester”.
Members of the public wept as they laid flowers and lit candles after the ceremony in front of the town hall, creating a large floral shrine.
A small group gathered outside the gates of Belfast City Hall in Northern Ireland for a vigil in memory of the victims.
Amnesty International’s Northern Ireland director Patrick Corrigan said it sent a message of support.
“Tonight’s vigil outside City Hall is really a spontaneous response by members of the local community and really it is an opportunity to stand in solidarity with the citizens of Manchester from the citizens of Belfast.”
Around 200 people, including young children, gathered at an event in the George Square to pay their respects at a vigil organised by Glasgow City Council.
A two-minute silence was held in the Scottish city centre, before a wreath was laid by Lord Provost Eva Bolander. Others who had gathered placed candles, flowers and a teddy in the square.
“This was the height of cowardice and truly evil,” said Bolander. “We stand shoulder to shoulder with the people of Manchester to show strength, love and deep sympathy for all people affected.”
Among the crowd of around 200 people in George Square was Joanne Toward and her daughters Carly, 10, and Kayla, six.
She held back tears as she said: “It’s heartbreaking. Carly is at the age where she wants to go to concerts and things, it’s just too sad. We just want to pay our respects in some way.”
A thousand people gathered in Birmingham’s main Victoria Square for a candle-lit vigil, but it was sadly cut short – after a man believed to be armed with what appeared to be a bat and a hatchet was detained nearby.
The man shouted out as he was handcuffed and led away by officers with West Midlands Police, just a short distance from where the people were gathered.
Speakers who had been paying tribute to the Manchester victims were interrupted by the man’s loud protests, from down a side street. Police, including armed response officers, then cleared the square a short time later.