Today marks the second anniversary of the shooting which saw 49 people killed at a gay nightclub, Pulse, in Orlando.
At the time it was America’s deadliest massacre, and two years on people have taken to Twitter to pay emotional tribute to those who died, their words filled with love and demands for change to the gun laws.
Ryan L Terry tweeted: “It’s been 2 years since the tragedy at #PulseOrlando. 49 innocent people lost their lives, including a friend/coworker. Please take a moment to reflect on the tragedy, those they left behind, and how YOU can make a difference with your vote. #GunReformNow #LoveisLove #OnePulse”
Lauren West wrote: “We mourn, we remember and we never ever forget. 49 flames extinguished too soon, 49 lives lost for being who they were, may their souls rest in peace #OrlandoUnited #PulseOrlando #lgbtq #LGBTPROUD #pulsenightclub #rip #pridemonth”
“Two years ago, we lost 49 beautiful souls. My heart is still broken and will be forever. We love you. #PulseOrlando #WeareOrlando #Pride2018 #love,” wrote Ryan Freeman.
Speak Out Brevard pledged: “We will never forget the 49 lives tragically lost 2 years ago. We will never stop fighting for an #AssaultWeaponBan and common sense #GunControl. #Pulse #OrlandoUnited #OrlandoStrong #PulseOrlando”
Another Twitter user called Carys said: “2 years since 49 innocent lives were taken away senselessly. But as always, the world fought back, it came together stronger, LGBT communities and supporters got louder. We’ll never back down, I’ll never back down. Love always wins. Change is coming. #PulseOrlando.”
And Bails simply wrote: “Love should always and will always win #OrlandoStrong #PulseOrlando.”
We will never forget the 49 lives tragically lost 2 years ago.
We will never stop fighting for an #AssaultWeaponBan and common sense #GunControl. #Pulse #OrlandoUnited #OrlandoStrong #PulseOrlando
— Speak Out Brevard (@SpeakOutBrevard) June 12, 2018
We mourn, we remember and we never ever forget. 49 flames extinguished too soon, 49 lives lost for being who they were, may their souls rest in peace #OrlandoUnited #PulseOrlando #lgbtq #LGBTPROUD #pulsenightclub #rip #pridemonth pic.twitter.com/VQlrUO226B
— lauren (@laurrenwest) June 12, 2018
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— bails (@BVonhof) June 12, 2018
The death toll from the siege carried out by Omar Manteen, 29, is the second-most lethal in US history, surpassed only by the October 2017 mass shooting at a Las Vegas country music festival which saw 59 people killed.
Yesterday, survivors from Pulse and the February’s Marjory Stoneman High School shooting took part in a rally along with hundreds of others to call for tougher firearms restrictions.
While authorities have called the nightclub massacre an act of Islamic extremism, civil rights activists have called it a hate crime, pointing to the large number of Latino and gay men targeted.
Now members of the LGBTQ community have accused Florida Governor Rick Scott and other Republican politicians for contributing to hostilities by refusing to prohibit discrimination based on sexuality and gender identity.
Addressing the crowd outside Orlando City Hall, Pulse survivor Brandon Wolf said: “We asked the Governor to protect us, and sign an executive order, saying that we would not be discriminated against in our workplace. We were met with excuses.”