MSPs To Hold Minute's Silence For Orlando

MSPs are to observe a minute's silence in memory of those killed in the deadliest mass shooting in US history.

Omar Mateen gunned down 49 people at the gay nightclub Pulse in Orlando, Florida, on Sunday.

As a mark of respect for those who died it has been proposed there will be a minute's silence in Holyrood's Debating Chamber after Time for Reflection at 2pm.

It follows a vigil in Glasgow on Monday night attended by around 600 people where the names of the 49 victims were read aloud.

Rainbow Pride flags - a symbol of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community - were planted in the square and cards and messages were laid beside flowers and candles.

Glasgow Provost Sadie Docherty told the crowd the city stood in solidarity with Orlando and she placed a bouquet in the square which had a Scottish and a US flag in it.

Messages left in the square included ''our love is stronger than the hate'' and ''no homophobia, no transphobia, no islamophobia''.

Organiser Ciara McGuire said: ''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 get support from people and show solidarity with the people in Orlando as well.

''It felt really important to be around other LGBTQ people and have that support. Although it's an awful thing that happened, it's good that we have this strong community and we can express that grief with other people.''

A similar vigil has also been organised in Edinburgh on Wednesday.

The Pride flag has been flying at half mast at the Scottish Government's headquarters in Edinburgh and Glasgow City Chambers on George Square.

Joanna Branch, a student from South Carolina, read aloud the names of the 49 who died, at the Glasgow vigil.

She said: ''We're here to mourn the loss of lives at a nightclub where people thought they were safe to be who they wanted to be. 'We mourn for the people who lost their lives, their friends and family and those injured.''

The minute's silence at Holyrood will be followed by a topical question from Labour's Claire Baker on what action is being taken to tackle hate crimes against LGBT people.

Politicians have been paying their respects since the attack.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon tweeted: ''Scotland stands in solidarity with the people of Orlando, and LGBTI communities across the world.''

Scottish Labour and Conservative leaders Kezia Dugdale and Ruth Davidson joined thousands of people in the heart of London's LGBT community on Monday.

Old Compton Street, Soho, fell silent at 7pm as a sign of respect for the revellers killed on Sunday morning.

Ms Dugdale, who confirmed she was gay two months ago, described the attack as ''utterly heart-breaking''.

She said: ''This looks to have been an attack on the very freedom to love who you want to love. We stand in solidarity with the entire LGBT community and the vast majority of Americans who will oppose this hate.''

Ms Davidson, who proposed to her partner Jennifer Wilson last month, tweeted: ''News from Orlando is shocking - people all around the world stand with the LGBTQ community today.''

 

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