"A show of unity" - Thousands attend vigil in Manchester

Newstalk's Richard Chambers said the vigil became a "celebration of the city, despite the sorrowful occasion"

"A show of unity" - Thousands attend vigil in Manchester

Picture by: Martin Rickett/PA Wire/PA Images

Thousands of people have gathered for a vigil in Manchester following last night's suspected suicide bombing in the city.

The attack at the Manchester Arena after an Ariana Grande concert left 22 dead and 59 others injured.

The suspect behind the attack has been named by police as 22-year-old Salman Abedi.

Thousands gathered in Albert Square in the city centre this evening, and observed a minute's silence for the victims.

Community and faith leaders gathered together to spread a message that "love is stronger than hate".

Political figures from the major British parties were also in attendance, alongside city officials and Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police Ian Hopkins.

Lord Mayor Eddy Newman told the crowd: "The people of Manchester will remember the victims forever, and we will defy the terrorists by all our diverse communities working together cohesively and with mutual respect."

Local poet Tony Walsh recited his poem This Is The Place at the vigil.

Newstalk reporter Richard Chambers told Drive that "tens of thousands" gathered at Albert Square, with the crowd spilling into the streets surrounding it.

He explained: "It really became something of a celebration of the city, despite the sorrowful occasion. You had groups of all backgrounds - whether they be Christians, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Sikhs - all chanted and applauded into the square as they arrived with 'I Love Manchester' signs.

"It really did become something of a show of unity."

Richard added: "What ended it all at the end of the vigil [...] was a lone man in the crowd who was crowing a Smiths lyric again and again - 'there is a light, and it never goes out'. It just caught on among the crowd, and it was a very poignant moment."