Rotterdam stands for Orlando, silent march through the city, 14 June 2016 (Photo: @xginxtonix/Twitter) Rotterdam stands for Orlando, silent march through the city, 14 June 2016 (Photo: @xginxtonix/Twitter)
Orlando shooting victims honored at Rotterdam rally
Hundreds of people took part in a silent march through Rotterdam on Tuesday to honor the victims of a mass shooting in a gay bar in Orlando during the early hours of Sunday morning. Dressed in rainbow colors and carrying rainbow flags, American flags and candles, they walked from cafe Ferry on Westblaak to the rainbow zebra crossing on Churchill square. At the rainbow crossing participants lay flowers and lit candles before returning to the march's starting point. Several aldermen marched along, according to broadcaster NOS. No speeches were made. The march was organized by Rotterdam's LGBT community and followed similar vigils in Amsterdam and The Hague. During the early hours of Sunday morning Omar Mateen, an American of Afghan descent, opened fire in gay nightclub Pulse in Orlando. 49 people were killed. Shortly before the shooting Mateen called the emergency line to say that he was acting in the name of terrorist organization Islamic State. "I hear from many people that it makes them angry. I was immediately very sad", Gert-Jan Verboom, one of the Rotterdam march's organizers, said to RTV Rijnmond. He added that he immediately thought of his Muslim friends and how painful it must be for them, something like this happening during Ramadan. Verboom doesn't know what to think about the perpetrator's alleged religious motives. "People can make something ugly from everything. Whether it is religion, culture or sexual orientation. We mustn't do that, especially now. We should leave the labels and support each other as a community."