Hundreds gather for Brianna Ghey vigil outside government building

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Hundreds of people have attended vigils in honour of trans girl Brianna Ghey who was fatally stabbed in Culcheth Linear Park, Warrington, on Saturday. One vigil took place outside the Department for Education’s building in Whitehall with events also taking place in Liverpool, Belfast and Dublin.

In Belfast, many of those who attended the vigil carried photographs of Brianna.

Leo Lardie, from the Rainbow Project, told the vigil: “Usually I am known as a man who is never at a loss for words, but today I truly and utterly am.

“There are no words to describe how hopelessly tragic and keenly painful the senseless death of a young girl like Brianna is.

“We are here tonight to show our deepest sympathies for her family, friends and the trans and non-binary community of the UK all of whom are left bereft by her sudden death.

“The UK can feel like an increasingly frightening place for trans and non-binary people to exist.”

Alliance representative on Belfast City Council Micky Murray said Brianna’s death was being felt by the trans community all over the world.

He said: “I hope this event brings comfort, but I also think it brings a level of discomfort.

“Obviously, we don’t want to have events like this, we don’t want to have to stand here to protest and to hold vigils.”

In Dublin, people gathered at The Spire in O’Connell Street, while in Belfast they came together at the front of the City Hall.

Protesters carried placards reading “Rest in Power” and “Trans Rights Now”.

Many of those who attended the Dublin vigil lit candles and left them on the pavement in front of a portrait of Brianna.

Academic and LGBTQ activist Ailbhe Smyth described her as “strong and fearless”.

She said: “She was only 16. She was on the cusp between girlhood and womanhood, that very delicate and also very wonderful moment.

“I felt her family’s grief so much when they said in their beautiful statement about the death of their daughter.

“They said she was strong, fearless and one of a kind. I thought of that young woman and how brave she had been in her life to say I am a trans woman.”

Two teenagers have been charged with murder and remanded into custody by a district judge today (February 15).

The boy and girl, both aged 15, appeared at Chester Magistrates’ Court, sitting as a youth court, and were not required to enter pleas to the charge.

Prosecutor Leanne Gallagher told the court Brianna’s death was “extremely brutal and punishing”.

Cheshire Police is exploring whether Brianna was the victim of a hate crime.

The two suspects appeared separately in the dock and spoke only to confirm their names and addresses during the short hearing. Both were supported by their parents in court and were flanked by one dock officer throughout the hearing.

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