Sydney and Melbourne hold vigils for Orlando

Issue 
People hold candles during a vigil for the victims of the Orlando massacre, in Newtown on June 13. Photo: Zebedee Parkes

Four hundred people came out on June 13 for the Newtown vigil for the victims of the Orlando massacre and to stand up against homophobia, transphobia, bigotry and hatred.

Speakers condemned it as a hate crime but rejected attempts by politicians and conservative media to turn this into an excuse for escalating hate campaigns against Muslims and justifying imperial wars in the Middle East. The vigil was organised by Defend Safe Schools and was endorsed by a broad range of organisations.

Hundreds also gathered with candles and rainbow flags in Taylor Square, where a nature strip was covered in flowers, rainbow flags and the word "Orlando" spelled out by candles.

A rally in the inner-Melbourne suburb of Fitzroy attracted about 500 people and many bowed their heads for 50 seconds of silence — one second for each victim

"We are not a community that will go away," OJ Blain-Allen told the crowd, urging LGBTI people to stand together. "We will not hide, we will not be intimidated by this horrible event.”

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