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Soho comes to a standstill to pay tribute to Orlando gay nightclub victims

A balloon for each of the 49 victims of the Orlando nightclub shooting has been released into the sky above Soho during a vigil attended by thousands.

Thousands of people gathered in Old Compton Street for a vigil Credit: ITN

Huge crowds gathered in and around Old Compton Street for London Stands with Orlando.

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Venues in the area encouraged customers to join the vigil, which started at 7pm.

A Facebook page set up for it saw almost 6,000 say they would attend, but City Hall officials estimate 20,000 people came onto the streets.

Almost 6,000 said they would attend the vigil Credit: ITN
Forty-nine people were killed inside Pulse nightclub Credit: ITN

Forty-nine people were killed and a further 53 hospitalised when Omar Mateen opened fire inside Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, in the early hours of Sunday.

It is the worst mass shooting in American history.

Police carried out patrols in Old Compton Street and its surrounding areas last night.

They said the patrols were to reassure people.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan, who was launching Pride in London's No Filter campaign outside City Hall, said the city stands "shoulder to shoulder" with the victims and their families.

I'm clearly conscious of how vulnerable LGBT Londoners feel at the moment.

It's really important that they are able to be who they are but it's in the context of homophobic crimes going up last year.

If you're an LGBT Londoner you should feel at home in London. I want everyone not just to feel safe but be safe as well and also to be who they are.

– Sadiq Khan

Whenever we have attacks like this anywhere around the world, (it's important that) we don't change our way of life: we actually carry on and we enhance and advance the qualities and values we hold dear.

– Michael Salter, chairman of Pride in London