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Swedish LGBTQ movement mourns Orlando victims

Pride West - parade in Gothenburg
15,000 people parading at Pride West in Gothenburg. Photo: Thomas Johansson/TT

As people in Orlando, Florida mourn the 50 dead after the terror shooting at a gay club in the city, the LGBTQ community in Sweden is demonstrating in sympathy.

On Sunday at the West Pride festival in Gothenburg 15,000 people marched from Götaplatsen at the top of the city's main esplanade to the Rainbow Park where they rounded off with a tribute to the dead. The crowd forewent the customary minute of silence, and offered instead a minute of "as much noise as possible."

"We want to pay tribute to the LGBTQ movement and the lives that have been lost by making as much noise as possible and simply sending our thoughts, our love and warmth to the families and those who have survived," said Tasso Stafilidis, chairman of the festival.

In Stockholm, the organisation Dharma & Martia, which works for LGBTQ-rights in the Middle East, have called a demonstration at 6 pm on Monday to honour the victims. A similar demonstration will be held at Triangeln in Malmö, organised by the local branch of the Swedish Federation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Rights (RFSL).

Frida Sandegård, who chairs RFSL in Sweden, told Swedish Radio News that many of their members are concerned and feel affected by what has happened on the other side of the Atlantic. She noted that the exact motives of the killer are not yet clear but that there is an ever-present sense of vulnerability in the LGBT movement that they have to take into account.

"We encourage people to continue to take part in solidarity movements where we can meet together because we cannot let ourselves be divided by this. We cannot let ourselves be scared off. Even if we carry emotions our strategy must be that we continue together," she said in an interview with Swedish Radio.

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