Orlando shooting: Edinburgh vigil pays tribute to fallen

Hundreds gather for a vigil in St Andrew Square. Picture: Ian Rutherford
Hundreds gather for a vigil in St Andrew Square. Picture: Ian Rutherford
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THE mass shooting in Orlando which left 49 people dead was calculated to create fear and division.

But last night saw a very different reaction as hundreds of people braved the pouring rain to stand shoulder to shoulder in St Andrew Square.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Scottish Greens leader Patrick Harvie during the vigil. Picture: Ian Rutherford

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Scottish Greens leader Patrick Harvie during the vigil. Picture: Ian Rutherford

The show of solidarity was organised by Inclusive Networks to bring people together in the aftermath of Sunday’s massacre at the Pulse nightclub – and also to demonstrate that love is a stronger force in the world than hate.

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Omar Mateen killed at least 49 people and wounded 53 more in the deadliest mass shooting in recent US history, before being shot dead by police.

His father, Seddique Mateen, said his son had been angered after seeing two men kissing in Miami.

The last few days have been horrific, sad, heartbreaking beyond words but they have also been inspiring as all across the world we have watched people come together in solidarity

Nicola Sturgeon

Supporters gathered for the vigil under the rainbow Pride flag, an emblem of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) community.

The 45-minute event was attended by political leaders including First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, who told the crowd she stood “shoulder to shoulder” with the LGBT community “now and forever”.

“The last few days have been horrific, sad, heartbreaking beyond words but they have also been inspiring as all across the world we have watched people come together in solidarity,” she said.

Other speakers included 23-year-old Tobias Wishart, from Leith, who gave an emotional speech on behalf of a friend who lost someone close to them in the massacre.

Scottish labour leader Kezia Dugdale during the vigil.  Picture: Ian Rutherford

Scottish labour leader Kezia Dugdale during the vigil. Picture: Ian Rutherford

The vigil, which comes two days after a similar event in Glasgow’s George Square, opened with performances from LGBT choir Loud and Proud and Edinburgh Gay Men’s Chorus. This was followed by speakers from groups including Scottish LGBTI charity the Equality Network and Unite Against Fascism.

The names of all 49 victims were read out followed by a one minute silence,

Tim Hopkins, director of the Equality Network, said: “This kind of attack – terrible though it is – is not going to stop the LGBT community working together in solidarity, calling for equal rights and continuing to be visible.”

Picture: Ian Rutherford

Picture: Ian Rutherford

Picture: Ian Rutherford

Picture: Ian Rutherford

Picture: Ian Rutherford

Picture: Ian Rutherford

Picture: Ian Rutherford

Picture: Ian Rutherford