Vancouver's LGBT community and allies gather at the art gallery to remember those killed in Orlando

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      Hundreds of people gathered on the north side of the Vancouver Art Gallery last night (June 12) in honour of people who were killed in Orlando, Florida, on June 12.

      Fifty people, including a gunman, died and another 53 were wounded when Omar Mateen attacked a nightclub called Pulse.

      The venue is a gay club popular with Latinos. At the vigil at the art gallery, members of Vancouver’s LGBT community held pride flags and voiced messages of solidarity.

      The Vancouver Pride Society is encouraging people to donate to victims of the attack and their families via a GoFundMe page that was created by Equality Florida, an LGBT and civil rights organization founded in 1997. The group will be distributing money with the assistance of lawyers who led similar efforts following previous mass shootings in the United States.

      High-profile members of Vancouver's LGBT community and others such as the city's mayor and provincial and federal politicians have expressed solidarity with victims of the attack.

      Vancouver Pride Society
      Vancouver Pride Society
      Vancouver Pride Society

      A second Metro Vancouver rally for victims of the Orlando shooting was held in New Westminster on the south side of Columbia Street at Church Street, where crosswalks are painted in rainbow colours as a sign of LGBT pride.

      Mateen, a U.S. citizen born in New York, claimed allegiance to the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL. According to the New York Times, there is however no evidence he had any contact with members of the terrorist organization and so far evidence suggests he acted alone.

      The FBI has said Mateen was suspected to have terrorist ties and that he was interviewed by authorities on at least two occasions. Mateen was nevertheless allowed to legally purchase the weapon, an AR-15-style assault rifle, that he used in the attack. U.S. president Barack Obama has repeatedly said that people with suspected ties to terrorist organizations should not be allowed to purchase such weapons. Even those sorts of modest gun-control measures have been blocked by Republican politicians and the National Rifle Association (NRA).

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