Vigils Held Across Australia For Victims Of Orlando Massacre

At least 50 people were killed in the deadliest mass shooting in America's history.

13/06/2016 4:44 PM AEST | Updated 15/07/2016 12:54 PM AEST
Sydney reacts to Orlando shooting

Hundreds of people have gathered for vigils held across Australia for the victims killed in the Pulse nightclub massacre.

A lone gunman killed 50 people and injured at least 53 others when he opened fired at the gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida in the early hours of Sunday morning.

In Sydney, Town Hall was lit up in pink and the Harbour Bridge was illuminated with the colours of the rainbow, while candlelight vigils were held at Taylor Square near Oxford Street, and in the inner-west suburb of Newtown.

An attack on 50 of us is an attack on all of us

Rachel Evans, one of the organisers of the Newtown vigil, said that preparations had been underway since Monday Morning.

"This is a day to reflect on what has happened, to say 'never again' and stand up against hatred, bigotry, homophobia and racism," she told The Huffington Post Australia.

"We've had acts of violence against trans woman Stephanie McCarthy and a brutal bashing of a young queer more than two months ago -- [these are] not as extreme as Orlando, but we need to take a stand whenever violence hits any of our communities and say 'not in our name'".

Chris Pycroft, co-covenor of the NSW Gay and Lesbian Rights lobby, attended the Taylor Square vigil and said that as many as 350 people had gathered to pay their respects.

"It's incredibly sombre, looking around it is quite obvious that everyone is in a state of disbelief and sad about what has happened...we can't believe it," he told HuffPost Australia.

"Many are just standing in silence reflecting on what has happened and standing in solidarity with the friends of the community we have lost in Orlando in the last 24 hours."

Adelaide's Town Hall was also lit up in pink, while a vigil was held in Elder park with Adelaide Oval illuminated by the colours of the rainbow.

In Brisbane, the Story Bridge also shone with the colours of the rainbow, while the colours of the American flag lit up Victoria Bridge.

Melbourne's Town Hall was covered by the colours of the rainbow on Monday night, after more than 200 people gathered in the inner-city suburb of Fitzroy earlier in the day to pay their respects to the victims.

"Today we grieve with our LGBTI family and allies in the USA," Victoria's gender and sexuality commissioner Rowena Allen said, The Age reports.

"Thank God we have better gun laws in Australia... We still have people that hate us."

Organiser Steve Spencer said that the shooting was a product of homophobia.

"An attack on 50 of us is an attack on all of us," he said.

"This is an attack on our lives."

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