Brighton and Hove stood with Manchester yesterday (May 24), after a series of vigils were held to remember the victims of the arena attack on Monday.
Hundreds turned out for council-organised vigils outside Brighton Town Hall and Hove Town Hall at 10.30am yesterday.
A second event was organised by The Hummingbird Project - a charity which helps refugees - at 6.30pm outside Brighton Town Hall.
Speakers included: the Green candidate for Brighton Pavilion Caroline Lucas; Labour city councillor Emma Daniel; Imam Uthman of the Al Madina Mosque in Brighton; Richard Williams of Sanctuary on Sea; Alex Dickson, president of Manchester TUC; and Mancunian Elaine Ortiz, founder of The Hummingbird Project.
Ms Lucas said: “It really is hard to find the words express the horror and heartache that I know we all felt when the news from Manchester came out. Our thoughts are with the friends and families of the victims and everyone who has been effected by this terrible, terrible event.
“I think we want to remember that love and kindness are always stronger than hate, and it feels to me that the spirit tonight of Brighton and Hove is reaching out to the spirit of Manchester. We’re standing with them, we’re standing in solidarity, we’re standing up to terrorism in the most powerful way possible by refusing to be defined by such heinous acts, by resisting those that seek to divide us. We stand united.”
Imam Uthman said: “Monday night we witnessed two types of people. There was a lone individual who killed. And his killing was not in the name of my religion.
“On the other hand we had groups of people of all faiths and no faith who came together in solidarity to show that together, united, people from all faiths and people of no faith, we can overcome hatred.
“In this is a very powerful message. We must understand that in our community, if we come together and we show a united front, love with always conquer hatred.”
Cllr Daniel said: “As we stand to mourn the children lost to families in Manchester, we stand in a defiant show of love in the face of hate. We send our love to Manchester.
“Manchester is diverse, international, outward-looking. It is an ambitious city and is always strong in its sense of love and community.”
Cllr Daniel went on to praise emergency workers, taxi drivers and the community which helped victims of the attack.
She added: “To love defiantly means also to be watchful and help people who may be targeted in the wake of this attack.
“People who are Muslim are no more responsible for this attack than I am for the murder of Jo Cox.”
She urged people to remember the words of Jo Cox, the Labour MP who was killed last year: “We have more in common than that which divides us.”
Services were also held at Hove Methodist Church and at St Luke’s Prestonville, Brighton, last night.