Nearly 10,000 people gathered in Trafalgar Square last night for a candle-lit vigil against hate crime.
The packed square observed a two minutes silence, after which the names of the victims of homophobic hate crimes were read out. The Prime Minister’s wife Sarah Brown attended and spoke exclusively to PinkNews.co.uk
Commemorating the life of Ian Baynham, who was murdered in a homophobic attack near to Trafalgar Square, thousands lay candles at the foot of Nelsons Column spelling out the words, ‘NO TO HATE.’
The crowd stood in silence as Shaun Newport from the LGBT tourist information office read out a letter of support from Stuart Milk, nephew of prominent gay rights activist Harvey Milk.
A number of politicians and representatives attended and spoke about the importance of tackling hate crime. Reading out Prime Minister Gordon Browns letter of support, Labour minister Maria Eagle reiterated:
“The homophobia which killed Ian, like Daryl Phillips, Gerry Edwards, James Kerr and Jody Dobrowski before him, breeds in the silence.
“My thoughts are with Ian’s family and friends, and with those of James Parks who remains critically ill in hospital.”
Speaking exclusively to Pinknews.co.uk, Sarah Brown applauded those responsible for organizing the event:
“ The organisers have done an extraordinary job,
“It’s unbelievable that they have done so much in just two weeks.”
Acting as compere for the vigil, television broadcaster Sandi Toksvig told the 10,000 strong crowd:
“Tonight is not about politics, but we have had messages of support from all of the political parties. Only one party has failed to send their voice of support, I’ll let you guess which one that it.”
The crowd heard from a number of openly gay politians including Labour minister Chris Bryant and Deputy London Mayor Richard Barnes.
Making a reference to the recent Jan Moir scandal, Labour Minister Chris Bryant said:
“Ian Baynham was not a death of natural causes.”
Speaking after the event, organiser Mark Healey told Pinknews.co.uk:
“I’m really happy with how it has gone this evening; it was fantastic seeing so many people coming out and giving their support.”
Events took place in a number of locations last night including Brighton, Liverpool and San Fransisco.