London, Jun 14: Thousands of people took to the streets around the UK to hold vigils in memory of the 49 people killed by an Afghan-origin gunman at a nightclub in Orlando in the deadliest shooting in American history. Events took place in various cities yesterday to show solidarity and support for LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) people worldwide. Soho, the heart of London’s gay district, was packed with people who held a two-minute silence and hundreds also gathered in Glasgow’s George Square to pay their respects. Also Read - Secret Graffiti Artist 'Banksy' Auctions Three Paintings For Children's Hospital in Bethlehem, Artworks Fetch £2.2 Million
“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 show solidarity with the people in Orlando as well,” Organiser Ciara McGuire told BBC. The London vigil was attended by a number of politicians, including the new London mayor Sadiq Khan, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and UK education secretary Nicky Morgan. US ambassador to the UK Matthew Barzun was also present. (ALSO READ: Gunman in Orlando gay club shooting was a regular: report ) Also Read - After Being Thrown in Bristol Harbour Last Month, Slave Trader Edward Colston's Statue Replaced by Sculpture of Black Protester Jen Reid
Prince William and his wife Kate Middleton paid a visit to the US embassy in London today to sign the book of condolence in memory of the victims. They were greeted by the US Ambassador and also met with a small group of US Embassy staff after paying tribute. As a mark of respect Kate wore a knee-length black and white dress teamed with a cropped black blazer. Queen Elizabeth II had expressed her shock at the massacre in a statement yesterday, “Prince Phillip and I have been shocked by the events in Orlando. Our thoughts and prayers are with all those who have been affected.” Prime Minister David Cameron had tweeted his condolences: “I’m horrified by reports of the overnight shooting in Orlando. Also Read - Here Are 6 Countries That Will Pay You to Visit Them Once COVID-19 Pandemic is Over
My thoughts are with the victims and their families.” Vigils were also held in Birmingham, Manchester, Cardiff, Brighton, Leeds and Nottingham, with more planned in the coming weeks. US authorities have confirmed that gunman Omar Mateen had pledged allegiance to the Islamic State (ISIS) terrorist group before he went on his rampage at Pulse nightclub in Orlando.
British police forces are reviewing its own security for public events following the killings and UK Home Secretary Theresa May told the House of Commons yesterday that police would examine security for the ongoing Gay Pride celebrations but there were no plans for any events to be cancelled. Scotland Yard said, “On Saturday, 25 June, Pride in London hold their annual parade and related events in central London for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender community.
“The Metropolitan Police Service has a current robust, visible policing plan in place and are working closely with event organisers to reassure those planning to attend. There are a number of contingencies in place that will be reviewed as we approach the event. “An appropriate number of officers will be deployed and is will remain under review as the event approaches.”