Candlelight vigil in London for New Zealand terror attack victims
Organiser Zaharan Sofi, said she spent Friday her 30th brithday, feeling ‘very emotional’.
Hundreds of mourners stood in a silence in honour of those who were killed in the New Zealand shootings.
Flowers and candles were laid as night fell on the peaceful gathering at the New Zealand memorial in central London’s Hyde Park.
Organiser Zaharan Sofi, said she spent Friday her 30th brithday, feeling “very emotional”.
Ms Sofi, a corporate accountant of Brixton, south London, said: “I am a British Muslim and I wanted to make sure that people come together.
“It is a very important time to bring people together and not to try and divide.
“Bringing people together is how you deal with terrorism. In this sensitive time and in our society, it is important that we all know we are human beings first.”
The event was aimed at showing solidarity and to provide comfort after the horror of the Christchurch shootings in which at least 49 people were killed at two New Zealand mosques.
Uniformed police officers stood a discreet distance away.
A minute’s silence and traditional Moari music were part of the moments of reflection.
Hundreds of people, of nationalities including British-based New Zealanders, attended and stood in respectful silence.
New Zealand couple Blair Godby, 25, originally from Invercargill, and Amy Louise Mill, 24, originally of Nelson, both said that waking up to hear that terror had struck their homeland was a “shock”.
Mr Godby said: “It is just hurtful and just plain shocking.
“New Zealand is very small, and now so far away.
“I have always taken such pride in these sorts of things not happening.
“It feels like a betrayal.
“Coming here and knowing that we are around New Zealanders brings a feeling that we are together and can send some if that support back to the communities at home.”
Ms Mill, who said she had always felt New Zealand was “a safe haven”, added: “Being here makes you feel a little connected to you community in a way.
“It is a little thing we can do to help acknowledge the 49 people who were murdered and the communities who are mourning them.”
Written on a white balloon fluttering among the tributes was the message: “Heartfelt sympathies to everyone. RIP to the victims. There is no such place for hatred in my country. We carry you in our hearts. Know you are loved.”
A wreath of white roses marked “from the people of Australia,” a kiwi bird soft toy and a handwritten placard which read “We Stand With New Zealand” were also among the tributes offered.
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