Thousands expected at vigils around US for Orlando victims

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Vigils and marches are being held around the country Monday and later this week for the victims of the deadly attack at a gay nightclub in Orlando. Police in many areas have promised heightened security for the events, which come during Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month.

Some of the planned events:



New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio say they will join in a vigil expected to draw thousands of people Monday evening at the Stonewall Inn. A 1969 police raid at Stonewall led to street protests widely credited as the start of large-scale gay rights activism.

A police counterterrorism unit will stand watch for safety at the event outside the Greenwich Village tavern, which President Barack Obama has proposed to designate as the first national monument honoring the history of gays and lesbians in the U.S.

Obama, Cuomo and de Blasio are Democrats.

"This attack was obviously directed at the LGBT community," de Blasio said in an interview on 1010 WINS radio. "I think there's a lot fear in the community here in New York City and around the country. Our message tonight is: We stand in solidarity with all members of the LGBT community."

A group of transgender Hispanic activists say they will march through the borough of Queens on Monday "to free our streets of homo-transphobia." Some politicians planned to join in a vigil Monday night in Washington Heights, a largely Hispanic neighborhood near the northern end of Manhattan, among other events planned in the coming days.



In the city where Sunday's shooting happened, a "OneOrlando Vigil" outside the city's performing arts center is scheduled for Monday night.

Several other Florida communities large and small also have events planned. In Miami, a gay community center offered grief counseling through Monday afternoon, with a prayer gathering and a town hall-style meeting planned in the evening.



More than two dozen human rights organizations have announced plans for a vigil and community gathering Tuesday night at Atlanta's Center for Civil and Human Rights. The groups include gay rights organizations, the Islamic Speakers Bureau of Atlanta and the Anti-Defamation League.



Philadelphia's LGBT community is organizing an early evening vigil Monday outside City Hall in what organizers describe as an outpouring of "grief, love and solidarity for the victims in Orlando."

An evening march also is planned in the state capital, Harrisburg.



A candlelight vigil is planned Monday night outside a gay nightclub in Providence, followed by a march to the Statehouse steps.

With other vigils and memorials also scheduled around the state Monday and Tuesday — and the Rhode Island Pride Festival expected to draw 40,000 people Saturday in Providence — police are planning to provide more officers, dogs and other security measures for the events.

The head of the state police and members of the Providence Police Department met Monday with Pride Festival organizers and the owners of several gay bars.

"They are nervous, like any other community that was targeted for violence," State Police Superintendent Col. Steven O'Donnell said.



The Pride Center of Vermont is organizing a march and vigil Monday night in Burlington, the state's largest city.



Vigils are planned around the state Monday, with one of the biggest in Denver's Cheesman Park. Meanwhile, organizers of Denver's PrideFest say next weekend's festival will go ahead with tight security, including metal detectors and fences.



Santa Fe Mayor Javier Gonzales announced plans for a public event honoring the shooting victims Monday on the Santa Fe Plaza, the landmark square that has served as the capital city's central gathering spot for hundreds of years. A vigil also is planned in a park in Farmington, a mid-sized city near the Colorado border.



The Los Angeles LGBT Center has organized a rally and vigil outside City Hall on Monday evening, one of a number of events around the state.

"We must express our grief and anger," the Los Angeles LGBT Center said on its website in announcing the vigil there. "But we must also make it clear that we will NOT be deterred by hate and violence, and that we celebrate in defiance of bigotry and fear."

In San Francisco, home to one of the nation's largest and most gay communities, politicians and thousands of other people joined a vigil and march to City Hall Sunday night, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.