Manchester has marked the anniversary of a bomb attack that killed 22 people leaving an Ariana Grande concert. The singer sent a message of love to survivors attending a memorial service alongside a numer of dignitaries.
With a minute's silence across the country, Britain on Tuesday marked the first anniversary of a suicide bomb attack at Manchester Arena that killed 22 people. Prime Minister Theresa May, Prince William and faith leaders also joined survivors, families of the victims and first responders for a memorial service at Manchester cathedral.
"The targeting of the young and innocent as they enjoyed a carefree night out... was an act of sickening cowardice," Theresa May wrote in the city's local paper, the Manchester Evening News.
Seven of the victims were children under the age of 18. Police say that more than 800 people were left "with physical and deep psychological injuries."
The prime minister added that "such appalling acts of wickedness" would strengthen Britain's resolve "to defeat such twisted ideologies and beliefs."
"It was designed to strike at the heart of our values and our way of life in one of our most vibrant cities, with the aim of breaking our resolve and dividing us. It failed," she said
Mayor of Manchester Andy Burnham meanwhile called for people to use this day as an opportunity to "come together" to remember the victims.
Other UK politicians attending the memorial included Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Labour Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn.
Salman Abedi, a 22-year-old British man of Libyan descent, blew himself up outside the venue as fans were leaving an Ariana Grande concert in the city in Northwest England on May 22, 2017. An investigation into the attack continues, with about 100 investigators still working on the case, according to the police. It is believed that Abedi was part of a terrorist network.
Applause for Prince William
Prince William was welcomed with a round of applause before the beginning of the service. He shared a Bible reading during the memorial service; the passage from the First Epistle to the Corinthians was read at the funeral of his mother, Diana, Princess of Wales, some 20 years ago.
"Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things," the passage reads.
Leaders of the catholic and protestant churches, as well as figures from the Sikh, Jewish, Muslim and Humanist communities also read at the service.
Later in the evening, thousands of people gathered in the city center to hear performances from local youth choirs and readings of poetry and messages of support as part of a "Manchester together" concert.
Ariana Grande remembers fans
Ariana Grande meanwhile shared a message with the survivors and families of victims, saying she was "thinking of you all today and every day" in a tweet.
The tweet notably included a bee — a symbol of Manchester. Two weeks after the attack, Grande had organized a benefit concert in response to the attack, "One Love Manchester," which was attended by 55,000 people. The event featured Justin Bieber, the Black Eyed Peas, Coldplay, Miley Cyrus, Katy Perry, Take That, Robbie Williams and Liam Gallagher among others as guests stars.
Later in the day, more than 3,000 singers from local choirs, including a group who were at the arena on the night, are expected to join forces at a "Manchester together" event in the city with half an hour of communal singing.
amp, ss/rt (AP, AFP, dpa)