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Police to support the Rainbow Vigil in Bristol following Orlando atrocity


Officers and staff from Avon and Somerset Police will be attending a vigil in Bristol tonight to show solidarity and support for the LGBT community following the domestic terrorist atrocity in Orlando.

Chief Constable Andy Marsh and members of the Force’s LGBT+ team will attend the event outside City Hall in College Green from 6pm.

The vigil is open to all communities and is designed to show the city’s support and solidarity with all those affected by the mass shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando at the weekend.

Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens said: “My deepest sympathy goes out to the families of the Orlando shooting victims.  The pain and suffering they must be feeling is unimaginable and no one should ever have to experience such devastation.

“I welcome the solidarity and united front that today’s vigil brings. I hope the families and friends of those caught up in this horrific incident take some comfort that together we are thinking of them at this difficult time.

“I truly believe there is strength in unity and globally, not only do we stand together in mourning, but we also stand together condemning such acts of hate and violence.”

A similar vigil was held in Queen Square, Bath, last night (13/6).

Chief Constable Andy Marsh said: “Police officers and staff are very much part of the fabric of the communities they serve and we want to share our condolences and show our support to those affected by this senseless act of terrorism and hate.

“Hate crime has no part to play in our society and we’re committed to working with all communities to ensure victims feel supported and have the confidence to report incidents to the police.

“I’m proud of all the work our Force’s LGBT+ team do and I know they’ll be offering any support or reassurance needed locally in the coming days and weeks in the run-up to this year’s Pride celebrations.”

Sgt Helen Riddell, of the Force’s LGBT+ team, said: “This was an atrocity directed at the LGBT community in Orlando and our hearts go out to all those affected.

“This tragedy shows why it’s crucial for communities to stand strong together and will add an extra poignancy to Pride festivals held in the Force area this year. It’s more important than ever to be visible and proud.

“Our team will be in full uniform with rainbow epaulettes at this vigil to show our support and solidarity.

“People must continue to go about their daily lives and if anyone has any concerns, we’re happy to provide any reassurance needed. We’ll be visiting the LGBT venues over the coming week and in the run-up to the Bristol Pride festivities next month.”

The rainbow flag has been flown at half-mast at the Force’s HQ since Monday morning as a mark of respect to those who lost their lives.

For more details about tonight’s event, you can visit the Bristol Pride website.

Posted on Tuesday 14th June 2016
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