14 JUN 2016: From around the world officials and public figures are expressing condemnation, condolences and shock over the mass shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando on Sunday, when a gunman wielding an assault-type rifle opened fire, killing at least 49 people and wounding dozens.

Here are some of the global responses:


Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, who on June 1st, raised a Pride flag on Parliament Hill for the first time in Canada’s history in recognition of the people who have "fought a long time" to secure equal rights for LGBT Canadians, issued a statement after hearing of the fatal shooting in Orlando, saying, he was “deeply shocked and saddened to learn today so many people have been killed and injured.”

“While authorities are still investigating and details continue to be confirmed, it is appalling that as many as 50 lives may have been lost to this domestic terror attack targeting the LGBTQ2 community.

“On behalf of the Government of Canada, Sophie and I offer our condolences and prayers to the families and friends of those lost today, and wish a full recovery to all those injured. We stand in solidarity with Orlando and the LGBTQ2 community.

“We grieve with our friends in the United States and Florida, and offer any assistance we can provide.”

The shooting has not deterred Trudeau, who on July 3rd will become the first Canadian Prime Minister to walk in a Pride Parade.


Mexicans largely reacted to the Orlando nightclub shootings with messages of sympathy for the victims. President Enrique Pena Nieto tweeted his condolences.

Many also lamented that mass shootings have become too common in the United States. “My first reaction on hearing the news was horror, but not disbelief,” columnist Gabriel Guerra wrote in the newspaper El Universal. “This is another of the innumerable armed attacks that occur daily in the United States.”

In the conservative state of Jalisco, a midlevel government official posted on Facebook that “It's a shame there were only 50 and not 100.” Jalisco Gov. Aristoteles Sandoval said he had ordered that the employee be fired and promised that “expressions of discrimination will not be tolerated under any circumstances.”


With tears, song and defiance, thousands of people gathered in London for a vigil in honour of the victims.

Mourners packed narrow Old Compton St. in Soho, the heart of London's gay nightlife district, on Monday evening. Bearing rainbow flags and signs reading “stand with Orlando,” Londoners observed two minutes' silence, before 49 balloons - one for each person killed - were released into the air.

Senior politicians including London Mayor Sadiq Khan joined the vigil near the Admiral Duncan pub, where three people died and dozens were wounded in a 1999 bomb attack by a far-right extremist.

British lawmakers also held a minute's silence Monday after what Home Secretary Theresa May called “not just an act of terror but an act of homophobic hatred.”

Queen Elizabeth II and Prime Minister David Cameron have sent messages of condolence from Britain for the attack.

J.K. Rowling says one victim of the Orlando killings worked on the Harry Potter Ride at the Universal Studios theme park. The author tweeted a picture of 22-year-old Luis Vielma in a Hogwarts school tie, and said: “I can't stop crying.”


The Eiffel Tower was lit in the rainbow colours Monday night, to honour victims of the mass shooting at Pulse. Paris City Hall began paying respects in the afternoon with a display of American and rainbow flags, while French President Francois Hollande condemned the mass killing as an attack on freedom. He vowed to toughen the fight against terrorism “at the side of the American people.”

“It's American that was hit but freedom that was targeted,” Hollande said after signing a book of condolences at the US Embassy, “freedom to choose one's sexual orientation, the freedom to determine one's way of life.”


German Chancellor Angela Merkel says it's important to continue with “our open, tolerant life” following attacks such as the mass shooting at an Orlando gay club.

Speaking during a visit to China on Monday, Merkel said that “we have a heavy heart” over the fact that “the hatred and malignancy of a single person” cost so many lives.

“We are firmly determined, even when such murderous attacks put us into deep sorrow, to continue with our open, tolerant life.”

In downtown Berlin, dozens of people came together in front of the US Embassy to mourn the victims of the Orlando shooting. People were setting white lilies and pink roses next to teddy bears in front of a rainbow flag and an American flag.


The U.N. human rights chief denounced the mass shooting. Zeid Ra'ad Hussein, commenting at the opening of the three-week Human Rights Council session in Geneva, chronicled a number of human rights abuses and concerns.

He said, “I also condemn with the greatest possible force the outrageous attacks by violent extremists on innocent people, chosen at random, or because of their presumed beliefs, or opinions, or - as we saw yesterday - their sexual orientation.”


Israeli President Reuven Rivlin said in a letter to President Barack Obama that Israel stands “shoulder to shoulder with our American brothers and sisters” after the attack on the LGBT community. Rivlin sent his condolences, saying there is “no comfort for those who have had their loved ones torn away from them.”

The Orlando attack has dominated news in Israel, which has seen a wave of Palestinian attacks in recent months. LGBT groups in Israel planned rallies and other support for the community in Orlando.


The world's largest body of Muslim-majority nations condemned the mass shooting but also warned against “political campaigning and self-serving agendas” in the wake of the tragedy.

The 57-nation Organization of Islamic Cooperation said in a statement Monday that “the massacre, as terrible as it is, must not be taken out of its context as a domestic American case.”

The OIC says it is concerned that “hasty judgment” and “Islamophobic discourse” have emerged before a full investigation into the motivations and causes of the attack.

The organization also conveyed its condolences to the families of the victims of “this horrible act,” and said that the teachings of Islam are based on peace and tolerance, and that terrorism is a crime against humanity.


Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah says the deadliest mass shooting in US history is a “senseless act of terror and hate” and that “Palestinians stand with the American people in this difficult time.”

The statement made no direct reference to the LGBT community. Homosexuality is deeply taboo in the conservative Palestinian society. Gay Palestinians tend to be secretive about their social lives and some have crossed into Israel to live openly safely.

The sentiment is reflected throughout the Arab and Muslim world.


Afghanistan's Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah told the Cabinet as he opened the weekly meeting live on television on Monday morning that the Orlando attack “tells us that terrorism knows no religion, boundary and geography. Terrorism must be eliminated.”

He says that Afghans “do not support terrorism but the victims of terrorist attacks” and offered his condolences to the people and government of the United States. “Our hearts and minds are with our US partners.” He also urged “collective actions to end such attacks.”


Pakistan's former military ruler Gen. Pervez Musharraf condemned the Orlando shooting, saying “this is a sobering reminder that extremism and terrorism are on the rise.”

Musharraf, who is facing court cases at home but left Pakistan in March for treatment abroad, says on his Facebook page the world must “address the root causes of global terrorism to suck the oxygen out of the extremist narrative of hate, intolerance, bigotry and the promotion of obscurantist ideology that is radicalizing vulnerable Muslims around the world.”


Saudi Arabia's Embassy in Washington condemned, “in the strongest terms the attack on innocent people in Orlando” in a statement Monday from Ambassador Abdullah Al Saud. He said that Saudi Arabia “will continue our work with the United States and our partners in the international community for an end to these senseless acts of violence and terror.” The statement did not mention the fact the attack happened at a gay nightclub.

Saudi Arabia outlaws same-sex relationships and non-Muslim gays and lesbians can be sentenced to death by stoning, according to Human Rights Watch. Such executions have not been carried out in recent years.


Iran condemned the attack, but also made no mention of the fact that it happened in a gay nightclub.

State TV quoted Foreign Ministry spokesman Hossein Jaberi Ansari as saying “Iran, based on its main policies of condemning terrorism and its strong determination to confront this ominous phenomenon, condemns the Orlando terrorist attack.”

In Iran, sodomy convictions can carry a death sentence, while lesbians can face 100 lashes, according to Human Rights Watch.


Egypt's Foreign Ministry condemned the Orlando attack, “in the strongest possible terms,” and offered condolences to the American government and people. “Egypt stands next to the American people in these difficult times, offering sincere condolences to the families of the victims and wishing the injured a speedy recovery.”

Egypt's statement urged for international solidarity and a “firm, comprehensive approach to confronting terrorism, which knows no borders or religion, and is incompatible with all humanitarian principles and values.”


The United Arab Emirates - home to the Western-friendly cities of Abu Dhabi and Dubai - condemned “the terrorist attack” in Orlando, expressed its solidarity with the United States and called on the international community to work to “eliminate the scourge of terrorism.”


Lebanon's Foreign Ministry is strongly condemning the “cowardly” attack in Orlando, expressing solidarity with the victims and the US government and blaming the massacre on the Islamic State group. It says no country or person is safe from “this global blind terrorism.”

The Lebanese statement doesn't explicitly mention attacks on homosexuals. But religiously-mixed Lebanon is the most liberal among the region's Arab nations regarding same-sex relationships, with an active LBGT community. Although technically homosexuality is against Lebanese law, activists have strongly challenged it in courts.


People have been bringing flowers and rainbow flags to the US Embassy in Moscow to show their solidarity with victims of the shooting since early Monday.

An Associated Press reporter saw two young men take out a placard saying “Love wins” before police officers came up and led them away.

Russia passed a law in 2013 banning the so-called propaganda of gay relationships among minors, which authorities have used to ban any public displays of support for the gay community.


A vigil honouring those killed and wounded in a Florida nightclub shooting drew at least a dozen people to the front gate of the US Embassy in Bangkok, Thailand. Participants passed around white and yellow candles to light in memory of those killed.

“We are distraught by what happened in Orlando,” said Paisarn Likhitpreechakul, the vigil's organizer. “We are looking for a way to express our condolences and solidarity with the people and government of the United States to raise awareness of problems of violence against the LGBT community.”

US Ambassador Glyn T. Davis came out to speak with the Thai LGBT activists and lit a candle.

Separately, Thailand's Royal Palace released a message to President Obama from King Bhumibol Adulyadej expressing sympathy and condolences to him and the bereaved families “for their irreparable loss caused by this shocking incident.”


Indonesia's foreign ministry said the government condemns the attack and extends deepest sympathy to the families of victims and the American people.

But Fahri Hamzah, the deputy speaker of Indonesia's parliament, tweeted that the mass killing happened because LGBT people are too visible. Anti-gay rhetoric by officials has been increasingly common in the world's most populous Muslim nation over the past year, fueled by army leaders and conservative religious groups who view homosexuality as an import from the West. Hamzah was recently booted out of his party for ethical violations.


China's official Xinhua News Agency issued a statement saying President Xi Jinping had telephoned his American counterpart Barack Obama to express his condolences over the Orlando shootings.

Xi was quoted as saying that “on behalf of the government and people of China, I convey to President Obama and the American government and people my deepest sympathies, sincere condolences and deep grief for the victims.”


Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has condemned the Orlando nightclub attack and expressed condolences to the victims and their families.

Abe told reporters Monday in Oita that “Japan stands together with the people of the United States” and that “this despicable act of terror cannot be tolerated.”


Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said that the Orlando mass shooting was “an attack on all of us - on all our freedoms, the freedom to gather together, to celebrate, to share time with friends.”

He said he spoke with the US ambassador to Australia, John Berry, “and formally conveyed to him Australians' sympathy, condolences and resolute solidarity in the face of this shocking act of hate and terror.”

“Together, at home and abroad, we continue the fight against terrorism and stand up for the values of our free nations,” Turnbull said.


The mass shooting at the Orlando gay nightclub happened shortly after a same-sex kiss was removed from a production of the musical “Les Miserables” in Singapore, and after the government said it would look into rules of foreign funding for gay pride parades like Pink Dot.

But Law Minister K. Shanmugam said on Facebook, “Another senseless shooting. ... It just goes on and on. The madness is not going to stop.”


The prime minister of Muslim-majority Malaysia, Najib Razak, said he was “horrified” by the Orlando mass shooting. “Islam abhors killing of innocent people,” he tweeted.

A few Malaysians, using pseudonyms, wrote on social media that they approved of the attack at the gay nightclub because the victims were “sinners,” but they were quickly condemned by many others.


People at a gay pride parade in Rio de Janeiro observed a minute of silence Sunday to honour the victims of the Orlando shootings.

“What happened in the United States was unacceptable violence. We are all shocked and cannot face this fact as normal, never,” event organizer Loren Alecander told the broadcaster Globo.

In Sao Paulo, dozens of people attended a vigil Sunday night carrying candles and banners that read “Pray for Orlando.”

The government issued a statement condemning the killings and expressing solidarity with victims' relatives and the US government.

“We are going through terrible times, times of discrimination and intolerance that are taking human lives,” said President Dilma Rousseff, who has been suspended pending an impeachment trial.


Warsaw residents and authorities placed flowers, rainbow flags and lit lights in front of the US Embassy in a sign of respect for the victims.

Deputy Chief of the US Mission in Warsaw, John C. Law, came out to the dozens of people gathered in the street to thank them for their gestures of sympathy.

Warsaw Deputy Mayor, Jacek Wojciechowicz, placed a wreath in the city's red and yellow colours.

Among the flowers and lights were printed-out pictures of the victims.


The International Gay and lesbian Travel Association (IGLTA) and its global membership issued a statement saying they, “are shocked and saddened by the devastating mass shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando. We stand in solidarity with our members and friends in Orlando and send our condolences to all of those whose lives were touched by this violent act.

“IGLTA is unwavering in its belief that tourism helps to build a more welcoming world. As communities around the globe celebrate Pride this month, it is even more important than ever for all of us in the travel industry to support inclusiveness and unite against those who would have LGBT people live in fear.”



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