Vigils held in Norwich to support victims of Manchester terrorist attack

Feelings are strong at the Vigil in support of the Manchester victims at City Hall. Picture: DENISE

Feelings are strong at the Vigil in support of the Manchester victims at City Hall. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2017

Vigils held in Norwich this evening aimed to show solidarity with those killed and injured in the Manchester terrorist attack and send a message of unity.

Candles representing the 22 people who died are lit at the Vigil in support of the Manchester victim

Candles representing the 22 people who died are lit at the Vigil in support of the Manchester victims at City Hall. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2017

Gatherings were held at both the University of East Anglia and Norwich's City Hall after Salman Abedi killed 22 people and injured 120 in the foyer of the Manchester Arena on Monday night, just after pop star Ariana Grande had finished a concert.

Many of the victims were children and vigils have been held across the country to remember them.

In the city the vigil - organised by Stand Up to Racism - attracted a small but passionate crowd who listened to speakers give their take on the events and how the public should move forward.

The Vigil in support of the Manchester victims at City Hall. The flag at half mast on the Castle. Pi

The Vigil in support of the Manchester victims at City Hall. The flag at half mast on the Castle. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2017

MORE: Heightened security and armed police at intu Chapelfield and Castle Mall in Norwich as terror threat is raised to critical after bombing at Ariana Grande concert in ManchesterTim Knight-Hughes, from Stand Up to Racism, said: 'We want to stand in solidarity with Manchester - it was a horrific attack, especially the loss of young life - but also to not allow the attack to turn into hatred against all Muslim people because that would make the situation worse not better.

'The point of the terrorist attacks is to play on division and to say there is a division between the west and the Middle East and between Muslims and other people - but there isn't a division. We actually feel that Britain is a multicultural society and this attack is almost an attack on the kind of society we have which is open, open-minded and multicultural.'

MORE: Norfolk police urge people to remain 'calm but alert' as terror threat is raised to critical after bombing at Ariana Grande concert in ManchesterOther speakers included Norwich Lord Mayor David Fullman, Lesley Grahame, from the Green Party, and Sirajul Islam from Rose Lane Mosque,

Mary Littlefield of Norwich Stand Up To Racism speaks at the Vigil in support of the Manchester vict

Mary Littlefield of Norwich Stand Up To Racism speaks at the Vigil in support of the Manchester victims at City Hall. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2017

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Mr Islam said: 'We can't really stand [for] this sort of behaviour these people are doing, it does not matter who their identity is because the act is inhuman. The message from all of us to them - to those people in this sort of ideology - is just stop this sort of thing, because the people are innocent people.'

He added: 'There is no space for this sort of thing.'

MORE: Police and event organisers to meet to discuss safety issues around Norwich's Take That concertsAt the university, hundreds of students packed into the institution's square to hear from speakers and light candles.

First year student, Sean Gallagher, said he was brought up in Manchester.

'I've never felt so far from home, I've never felt more not where I belong. But I've never been as proud as I am right now to be a Manc, I've never been prouder,' he said.

Organiser Jack Robinson said he was pleased to see how many people had turned out in support.

'We're really happy, the bunch of organisers - about six of us - are really happy with how its gone, we got a good turn out of people and it was really respectful, with some really nice words from students from Manchester.'

The Vigil in support of the Manchester victims at City Hall. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The Vigil in support of the Manchester victims at City Hall. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2017

MORE: Estranged Sprowston mum of homeless Manchester Arena bombing hero Chris Parker desperate to reunite with himAnd he added even though Manchester was a long way from Norwich, students were still concerned about the attack.

'Students are concerned with what is happening around the world. We have students here who are from Manchester and UEA is really good at showing we support them and to show we're all in this together, that we feel their pain and we support them.'

UEA's flag flew at half-mast today, and Vice Chancellor Prof David Richardson said: 'At UEA we celebrate our differences, we are one community, enriched by different cultures, religions and political view points and we are united together in condemning the cowardly acts witnessed by so many in Manchester last night. We are united as one in our thoughts for those impacted by yesterday's events. And we are united as a community that will not bow to terrorism, we will not let terrorists win, we will not let them change the way we live our lives.'

MORE: 'Speak to them and support them' - Norfolk police chief urges public to approach armed officersTwo UEA students, who are both in the Army but wished to remain anonymous, showed their support at the vigil.

The first, aged 22, said on terrorism: 'We are seeing and have seen it and it's a perversion of the Islamic faith. It really hits home for serving personnel.'

The other student, 21, said he hoped people felt safer with the military brought in to support the police.

Candles representing the 22 people who died are lit at the Vigil in support of the Manchester victim

Candles representing the 22 people who died are lit at the Vigil in support of the Manchester victims at City Hall. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2017

'It becomes a bit alien but I think as far as people in the forces are concerned people would rather feel safer. They know people are there to stop the attacks.'

A spokesman from the students' union added: 'We stand in solidarity with the survivors and we send our deepest condolences to those killed in the attack, their friends and their family. The trauma experienced by the people who went to the gig, many of which were young women, and their friends is being rippled across the country and affecting many people.

'We stand against the disgusting media coverage that is taking advantage of a sensitive situation to further their racist agendas, we stand against reactionary click-bait celebrities like Katie Hopkins whose words are validating the violence people of colour, especially Muslim people, are facing as result of their scape goating.

'We stand in solidarity with the taxi drivers who gave scared people lifts home for free, for the strong people of Manchester who opened up their doors so people would have a place to stay and the blood donors who lined up out the door to donate.'

Sirajul Islam from the Norwich Central Mosque speaks at the Vigil in support of the Manchester victi

Sirajul Islam from the Norwich Central Mosque speaks at the Vigil in support of the Manchester victims at City Hall. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2017

Candles representing the 22 people who died are lit at the Vigil in support of the Manchester victim

Candles representing the 22 people who died are lit at the Vigil in support of the Manchester victims at City Hall. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2017

The Vigil in support of the Manchester victims at City Hall. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The Vigil in support of the Manchester victims at City Hall. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2017

The Vigil in support of the Manchester victims at City Hall. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The Vigil in support of the Manchester victims at City Hall. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2017

Lesley Grahame speaks at the Vigil in support of the Manchester victims at City Hall. Picture: DENIS

Lesley Grahame speaks at the Vigil in support of the Manchester victims at City Hall. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2017

The Lord Mayor, David Fullman, speaks at the Vigil in support of the Manchester victims at City Hall

The Lord Mayor, David Fullman, speaks at the Vigil in support of the Manchester victims at City Hall. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2017

A vigil will be held in King's Lynn on Friday evening. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

A vigil will be held in King's Lynn on Friday evening. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2017

Candles representing the 22 people who died are lit at the Vigil in support of the Manchester victim

Candles representing the 22 people who died are lit at the Vigil in support of the Manchester victims at City Hall. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2017

The Vigil in support of the Manchester victims at City Hall. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The Vigil in support of the Manchester victims at City Hall. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2017

Tim Knight-Hughes of Norwich Stand Up To Racism, speaks at the Vigil in support of the Manchester vi

Tim Knight-Hughes of Norwich Stand Up To Racism, speaks at the Vigil in support of the Manchester victims at City Hall. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2017

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