Vigil for hate victims takes place in London

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Friday, October 30, 2009

Library image of a candle
Library image of a candle

A silent vigil for the Victims of hate crime is taking place in Trafalgar Square, London this evening.

The vigil follows recent homophobic attacks including those on Ian Baynham and James Parkes. London Mayor Boris Johnson, in speaking of tonight's vigil said, "Londoners have become increasingly concerned about the number of homophobic attacks and the recent death of Ian Baynham was particularly appalling. My thoughts are with his friends, family and everyone affected by hate crime."

The vigil also comes following the publication of crime statistics showing that the level of homophobic attacks in the UK had risen. Police Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson acknowledged the concerns of many citizens regarding the increase in homophobic attacks. "My sincere condolences to Ian Baynham's family and friends. This was a dreadful crime and we are, and will continue to do everything we can to ensure those responsible are brought to justice."

Mark Healy, one of the organisers of the vigil, was quoted by BBC News as saying "If we forget about these victims we could become complacent and fail to learn from the past." adding that

"Whenever someone is attacked, pain and suffering is not just caused to them, but also to their family and the wider community. We hope the vigil will also inspire young people to tackle issues of equality in the community."

The vigil is being organised by Facebook group 17-24-30, who take their name from the London nail bomb attacks on Brixton, Brick Lane and Soho in 1999. Confirmed attendees include London Deputy Mayor Richard Barnes and comedienne Sandi Toksvig. A letter from Stuart Milk, nephew of the late Harvey Milk, the first openly gay politician elected in California, will be read out. The Gay Men's Chorus will also be performing.