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Vigil for brave student killed after stopping men from harassing young girls

More than 100 people have attended a vigil in Berlin in memory of a German student beaten to death after stopping a group of men harassing two young girls in a restaurant toilet.

Tugce Albayrak would have turned 23 on Friday Credit: Reuters

Tugce Albayrak heard the girls, aged 13 and 16, screaming for help in the toilet of a McDonald’s in Offenbach on November 15, and she stepped in.

But later, as she walked through the car park, she was attacked and punched by three men and fell into a coma, having suffered a brain haemorrhage.

Tugce came to the rescue of two young girls who were being harrassed Credit: Reuters
Some lit candles while other lay flowers Credit: Reuters

Her parents made the decision to turn off her life support machine on Friday, the day of her 23rd birthday, after doctors declared her brain dead.

The vigil was one of many more across Germany being held to honour Tugce, with people lighting candles and laying flowers.

More than 100 turned out to pay their respects Credit: Reuters

One sign placed at the scene read: “You are not dead, you are just invisible around us. We are very proud of you Tugce.”

Cagla Ferat, one of the vigil’s organisers, said:

The thing is, it could have been me, or my family, because it's a natural thing to intervene in a situation like this.

– Cagla Ferat, vigil organiser
“You are not dead, you are just invisible around us. We are very proud of you Tugce.” Credit: Reuters

Tugce was of Turkish descent, and the former representative of the Turkish community in Germany, Kenan Kolat, has now organised a petition calling on German president Joachim Gauck to award the young student the country’s National Order of Merit.

It has attracted more than 50,000 signatures so far.

Police said an 18-year-old man has been arrested and is being held in connection with Tugce's death.

A number of other vigils have been organised across the country Credit: Reuters