Multi-faith vigil held in Colchester to remember Paris attack victims

Supporters bring candles and listen to religious representatives from different faiths in Colchester

Supporters bring candles and listen to religious representatives from different faiths in Colchester at Welcome Refugees Colchester's gathering to stand united against all forms of violence and terror. - Credit: Su Anderson

Community faith leaders gathered in Colchester to hold a peace vigil in the wake of the Paris terror attacks.

Supporters bring candles and listen to religious representatives from different faiths in Colchester

Supporters bring candles and listen to religious representatives from different faiths in Colchester at Welcome Refugees Colchester's gathering to stand united against all forms of violence and terror. - Credit: Su Anderson

Representatives from the Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist and Christian communities in the town joined together for the candle-lit event at the war memorial in the High Street on Wednesday evening.

Also present at the commemoration were the parents of Weeley man Nick Alexander, who was killed at the Bataclan music venue by terrorists.

In total there were around 100 people at the service, including Colchester mayor Theresa Higgins.

The event was organised by Jean-Michel Knutsen, a volunteer at Citizens UK, and backed by the Welcome Refugees Colchester group.

Supporters bring candles and listen to religious representatives from different faiths in Colchester

Supporters bring candles and listen to religious representatives from different faiths in Colchester at Welcome Refugees Colchester's gathering to stand united against all forms of violence and terror. - Credit: Su Anderson


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Mr Knutsen said: “I am French and on the night of the Paris attacks I felt powerless. I studied there for several years and these were places I knew well.

“In the days after the attacks the political backlash was really strong, and is getting worse with parties using it to fuel hatred.

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“I thought the best thing to do would be to organise something non-political and invite different church leaders together to show they are not afraid and that they enjoy being together, and to say something about all the attacks taking place around the world.

“I have only been living in Colchester for four months but this inter-faith commemoration seemed to be quite new, and those from different religions seems really happy to see each other and to have the chance to chat.

Supporters bring candles and listen to religious representatives from different faiths in Colchester

Supporters bring candles and listen to religious representatives from different faiths in Colchester at Welcome Refugees Colchester's gathering to stand united against all forms of violence and terror. - Credit: Su Anderson

“The commemoration was really vibrant, emotional, and we all spent a really nice moment together.”

Supporters bring candles and listen to religious representatives from different faiths in Colchester

Supporters bring candles and listen to religious representatives from different faiths in Colchester at Welcome Refugees Colchester's gathering to stand united against all forms of violence and terror. - Credit: Su Anderson

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