Vigil in Orlando for victims of gay nightclub shooting

The thousands thronging the streets of Orlando fell silent at dusk Monday as 49 chimes rang out to commemorate each of the victims of the mass shooting at a gay nightclub at the weekend.

Mourners held flickering candles and hugged as the city held its own vigil, while in cities around the world the rainbow flag was projected onto landmark monuments in solidarity.

"They were neighbours and friends," one speaker told the crowd from the stage. "They were boyfriends and girlfriends, but most of all they were humans."

One mourner held a smiling photograph of victim Xavier Emmanuel Serrano Rosado, who left behind a young son when he died of injuries sustained in the shooting.

"He was a good friend of mine," said Frankie Arroyo, 27. "The last time I saw him was in Pulse and I told him: It is nice to see you again."

On the stage, the names of the victim were read out one by one, but no mention was made of shooter Omar Mateen, 29.

A choir sang the 1968 Cyndi Lauper hit True Colours, and later Let It Be by the Beatles.

Local imam Muhammad Musri called on the US Muslim community to distance itself from such acts of violence.

"We condemn this act of terrorism done in our name. We have to remove this cancer," he said.

In the audience, Teslee Makan, 17, wore a wreath wrapped around her headscarf.

"We are here to stand for peace," she told dpa. "Both Muslims and LGBT communities are minorities here in America and it is important for us to stand together."

People must also realize that "the actions of one man does not define the actions of an entire community," she said.

Last update: Tue, 28/06/2016 - 17:25
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