Hate crime victim: Ian Baynham

An estimated 10,000 people took part in a candle-lit vigil in London’s Trafalgar Square on Friday night to protest against recent hate-crimes against gay people.

The crowd observed a two minute silence and the names of hate crime victims were read out in the presence of Sarah Brown, the British Prime Minister’s wife.

The event was held following the murder of Ian Baynham (62) who was walking with a friend in Trafalgar Square, near the South African High Commission, on 25 September when he was attcked by three people shouting homophobic slurs.

The Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, sent organisers a letter supporting the vigil.

“As you gather this evening to share your grief and to bear witness to the intolerance which caused it, I wanted to send my appreciation to you for having the courage to act even in the midst of your sorrow,” wrote Brown.

“The homophobia which killed Ian, like Daryl Phillips, Gerry Edwards, James Kerr and Jody Dobrowski before him, breeds in the silence. So thank you for speaking out today and resisting those whose hatred diminishes their humanity.

“Perhaps the cruellest impact of hate crime is the loneliness and fear which it inspires in the communities it targets. And so to defeat hate we need not just policies – but pride. That is what you are all showing this evening,” said the Prime Minister.

In Liverpool around 1,500 people also gathered to protest the attack on trainee police officer James Parkes (22) who was beaten by a group of 20 teenagers, leaving him with a fractured skull and other serious injuries.

He has since been discharged from the hospital but was not well enough to attend the event, reported the BBC. Twelve boys have been arrested over the assault and were later released on bail.

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