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London Drops Everything to Remember Orlando Victims

London vigil

Thousands of people poured into the streets for a vigil, bringing other city activities to a standstill.

Londoners showing solidarity with the victims of the Florida mass shooting brought the city to a standstill this evening.

Around 6 p.m. local time, in the Soho neighborhood, "bars stopped serving, crowds fell silent and hundreds of balloons were let off in memory of those killed," Reuters reports.

Cities all over the world are holding vigils for the victims of the attack on the Pulse gay nightclub in Orlando, where at least 49 people were killed and more than 50 wounded when a man identified as Omar Mateen opened fire early Sunday morning; he was killed in a shootout with police.

But London's was one of the biggest. Media accounts put the crowd in the thousands, and LGBT site Pink News used the "standstill" term. Prominent politicians, including London Mayor Sadiq Khan, Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, and Education Minister Nicky Morgan, were in attendance.

"This crime against the LGBT community ... was a crime against all of us, and we stand shoulder to shoulders with the victims and remember their families as well," the mayor told Pink News. "This is an attack on our freedoms and values. It is important that we double our efforts to be vigilant and to show solidarity."

The vigil's attendees gathered near the Admiral Duncan Pub, the site of an antigay attack in 1999. A nail bomb exploded, killing three people and injuring about 70. "It's important to be here tonight because we in London, the LGBT community has been on the receiving end of murderous homophobic attacks in the past, and we remember those who passed away here in 1999," Mayor Khan told Pink News.

He also said London police will make a priority of assuring the safety of the city's Pride event, set for June 25.

Tris Reid-Smith, one of the vigil's organizers, told Sky News it was "an unprecedented response to an unprecedented situation." The Orlando attack was the biggest mass shooting in U.S. history.

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