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Kiwis plan vigils for US shooting victims

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 13/06/2016

Candlelight vigils for the victims of the mass shooting in Orlando, Florida are to be held around the country.

Early on Sunday, local time, 29-year-old gunman Omar Mateen stormed a packed gay nightclub with a handgun and AR-15 semi-automatic rifle, fatally shooting 50 people before police killed him. Fifty-three others were wounded, many critically.

It was the worst mass shooting in US history.

President of the Federation of Islamic Associations, Hazim Arafeh, said the Kiwi Muslim community was "outraged and shocked at this despicable crime."

"We stand alongside all victims and we stand against this appalling violence which must never have any place in our civilised, democratic societies."

The Human Rights Commission has also leant a voice of support to the federation.

"Our response to hatred is humanity, we stand together with Kiwi Muslims in solidarity against homophobia, violence and intolerance," said Human Rights Commissioner Richard Tankersley.

Wellington City Council buildings will be lit in rainbow colours on Monday night.

Mateen was born in New York of Afghan descent but spent most of his life in Florida, attending Martin County High School in Stuart, a small city about a 20-minute drive from the Fort Pierce condominium where had most recently lived.


* Wellington: Frank Kitts Park, Monday 6pm

* Auckland: Western Park, Ponsonby, Monday 6pm

* Christchurch: 141 Gloucester St, a minute's silence, Tuesday 5.30pm

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