Manchester stands united in wake of concert attack

Manchester stands united in wake of concert attack
Communities across Manchester came together in a show of unity in the aftermath of Monday's deadly bomb attack at a pop concert that left 22 people dead.
2 min read
24 May, 2017
Crowds gathered in Manchester's Albert Square in a show of solidarity [AFP]

Thousands of people converged on Manchester's city centre on Tuesday evening waving "I heart Manchester" placards in solidarity with the victims of a bomb attack at a pop concert that killed 22 people, many of them children.

The half-hour vigil began less than 24-hours after the attack took place, as communities across the city came together to deal with the aftermath of Monday evening's atrocity.

Bishop of Manchester, the Rt Rev David Walker, told those gathered at Albert Square that those who seek to destroy the city's unity and unshakeable belief in diversity are in "the very few, but we are the many, we are Manchester".

He added that the attack's victims were now "Manchester too".

The reverend's words were echoed by Greater Manchester Police's Chief Constable Ian Hopkins, who praised the courage of doctors and emergency crews who had worked extra hours to help deal with the situation.

Earlier in the day, over £8,000 had been raised to buy a drink for each member of the emergency services who had helped amid the chaos.

Community leaders gathered in Manchester's
city centre [Paola Tamma/The New Arab]

Across the city, community centres and houses of worship had opened their doors to local people as part fo the attempt to restore normality to a city shaken with horror.

"Our Sikh temple isn't far from the arena, so last night we had around 15 people come for food and shelter while everyone was still figuring out what was going on," said
Tejbir Singh of the Sri Guru Markrishan Sahib Gurudwhra Sikh temple.

"I felt a bit sad, you hear about these things happening around the world but when it happens at home it hits you. We were very very confused and very scared but still we had to help the people."

Elsewhere, representatives of Muslim charities, including humanitarian NGOS Muslim aid and Islamic Relief, attended vigils in Manchester and Birmingham to show their solidarity.

On Tuesday evening the UK raised security to its highest possible level, indicating that security chiefs fear that another attack could be imminent.

The government has only raised the terrorist threat level to "critical" twice before, which means that soldiers will deployed to streets in the UK to guard certain locations.

Prime Minister Theresa May also announced that troops would take over guard duties from armed police at certain sensitive sites.