Prime Minister Gordon Brown has sent a letter of support to those attending and organising this evenings hate crime vigil. The candle lit vigil, which is expecting to attract up to 10,000 people, will commemorate the life of Ian Baynhan, who was murdered in a homophobic attack two weeks ago.

The Prime Minister writes:

“As you gather this evening to share your grief and to bear witness to the intolerance which caused it, I wanted to send my appreciation to you for having the courage to act even in the midst of your sorrow.

“The homophobia which killed Ian, like Daryl Phillips, Gerry Edwards, James Kerr and Jody Dobrowski before him, breeds in the silence.

“So too does the kind of mindless violence which resulted in the death of Michael Causer. So thank you for speaking out today and resistingthose whose hatred diminishes their humanity.

“My thoughts are with Ian’s family and friends, and with those of James Parks who remains critically ill in hospital.

“And tonight we also remember the thousands more from so many different communities who have been the victims of assault, harassment or abuse and who carry the emotional, mental and physical scars which can last a lifetime.

“And so I give you my word today that resisting all forms of hate crime remains a top priority for the Labour Government. The Home Office has recently issued a new Hate Crime Action plan to increase reporting, bring more perpetrators to justice and give better support to victims.

“Perhaps the cruellest impact of hate crime is the loneliness and fear which it inspires in the communities it targets. And so to defeat hate we need not just policies – but pride. That is what you are all showing this evening.

“So let us say as one that we stand together strong in our diversity and united in our determination that while the march towards equality may be long, nobody will ever have to travel the road alone.”

A number of events both in the UK and internationally will take place this evening, making it the first such international event.

The vigil, which is being organised by volunteers, is seeking donations to assist with running costs. If you would like to donate via paypal visit http://tr.im/172430 or alternatively you can pay directly to the 17-24-30 groups donation account, sort code 40-03-22, account number 41446843.