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Hundreds attend Markham vigil for Pakistan massacre victims

Hundreds take part in a candlelight vigil outside the Markham Civic Centre to honour the victims of the Peshawar school massacre, Dec. 21, 2014. 680NEWS/Momin Qureshi

Hundreds of people filled the Markham Civic Centre Sunday evening to remember those killed in the Taliban attack on a military-run school in Peshawar.

Khalid Usman, who organized the event, said he was pleased with the turnout and the tremendous amount of support shown by the people of Markham and beyond.

“We wanted to achieve solidarity with all Canadians of different backgrounds,” said Usman. “This was something that hit everyone.”

Over 300 people were in attendance, including Markham mayor Frank Scarpitti and MP John McCallum.

“It was very moving seeing the great turnout and the expression of sympathy,” said Scarpitti. “Tonight was a way for not just the Pakistani community but for others to come and show their support.”

Following compassionate words inside the civic centre, the vigil was moved outside to the Markham Peace Garden where those in attendance held candles around an eternal flame.

Scarpitti said that with the great diversity of the Markham community, residents know that when something tragic happens around the world, someone they know has been affected and they ban together.

“It certainly was important for Markham, as (Canada’s) most diverse city, to demonstrate to the rest of the world that here we want love to triumph over hatred, we want peace to triumph over war,” said Scarpitti. “It was a message of solidarity.”

Since the attack several vigils have been held around the GTA to honour the over 145 victims – many of which were children between the ages of 12 and 16.