Thousands Gather in Manchester for Vigil to Honor Victims of Ariana Grande Concert Attack

A Manchester United scarf, laid in the shape of a heart, lies next to flowers left by members of the public at a candlelit vigil to honor the victims of Monday evening's terror attack at Albert Square on May 23, 2017 in Manchester, England.
Leon Neal/Getty Images

A Manchester United scarf, laid in the shape of a heart, lies next to flowers left by members of the public at a candlelit vigil to honor the victims of Monday evening's terror attack at Albert Square on May 23, 2017 in Manchester, England.  

Thousands of people gathered in Manchester, England's Albert Square on Tuesday night (May 23) to honor the memory of the dozens killed and wounded in Monday night's terror attack during an Ariana Grande concert at Manchester Arena.

Waving posters that featured the phrase "I heart Manchester," they listened to the lord mayor, Eddy Newman, honor the emergency service workers who rushed to the scene and, according to The Guardian, what began as polite clapping "turned into thunderous applause, whooping and whistling."

Greater Manchester Police chief Ian Hopkins thanked the teams that had worked through the night and the members of the public for their solidarity, as well as the "rest of the world holding us in their thoughts... we must all stand together and not let the terrorists defeat us," he said. "Not let them stop us going about our daily business and create fear and we must all live in harmony with each other as we stand together and defeat terrorism."

Some scenes from the vigil:

British poet Tony Walsh (also known as Longfella) recited his moving poem "This Is the Place," an ode to the city of Manchester, during the half-hour event:

This is the place/ In the northwest of England/ It's ace, it's the best/ And the songs that we sing from the stands, from our bands/ Set the whole planet shaking/ Our inventions are legend. There's nowt we can't make, and so we make brilliant music/ We make brilliant bands/ We make goals that make souls leap from seats in the stands/ And we make things from steel/ And we make things from cotton/ And we make people laugh, take the mick summat rotten/ And we make you at home/ And we make you feel welcome and make summat happen/ And we can't seem to help it/ And if you're looking from history, then year we've a wealth/ But the Manchester way is to make it yourself/ And make us a record, a new number one/ And make us a brew while your up, love, go on/ And mke us feel proud that you're winning the league/ And make us sing louder and make us believe that this is the place that has helped shape the world/ And this is the place where a Manchester girl named Emmeline Pankhurst from the streets of Moss Side led a suffragette city with sisterhood pride/ And this is the place with appliance of science, we're on it, atomic, we struck with defiance, and in the face of a challenge, we always stand tall, Mancunians, in union, delivered it all. (Click below to hear the full poem).

The somber vigil came as news broke that British Prime Minister Theresa May had announced the terror level in the U.K. had been raised from severe to critical following the attack, a move that indicates that an attack is expected "imminently." Manchester police have identified the bomber responsible for the attack as 22-year-old Salman Abedi, according to CNN. The suicide bomber attack at the 21,000-capacity Manchester Arena in England left at least 22 dead and 59 people injured at press time. ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attack, which it said in a telegram was carried out by a "soldier of the caliphate," but the terror group had not offered any evidence of its ties to the incident. The bombing was the deadliest attack in Britain since 52 people were killed on buses and commuter trains by four suicide bombers in July 2005.

As the Manchester gathering ended, the crowd chanted "Manchester! Manchester! Manchester!" in unison, according to The Guardian, with a lone voice paying homage to one of the city's favorite native bands, The Smiths, by yelling, "There is a light that never goes out."

In addition, tributes came in from around the world, with major landmarks including the Burj Khalifa in Dubai and the Brandenburg gate in Berlin lit up with the colors of the British flag.


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