Gibraltar pays tribute as Rock threat level remains unchanged
Gibraltar’s political leaders yesterday condemned Monday’s terror atrocity in Manchester and offered condolences to the families of the victims.
The messages of support and solidarity came as the Gibraltar Contingency Council reviewed security measures on the Rock in the wake of the bombing of a pop concert at the Manchester Arena.
The GCC maintained the threat level in Gibraltar at ‘substantial’, the third-highest grading in a five-step list that means an attack is “a strong possibility”.
It urged the community to remain vigilant and report any concerns, but stressed there was no specific intelligence to suggest any threat to the Rock.
The Gibraltar Government said Chief Minister Fabian Picardo had written to Prime Minister Theresa May and to the Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, to express the sincere condolences of both the Government and the people of Gibraltar in the aftermath of the barbaric attacks perpetrated at a pop concert.
Flags on Gibraltar Government buildings will fly at half-mast until further notice, “in defiance of this shameful act of terrorism, and in solemn memory of the victims”, No.6 Convent Place said.
As political campaigning in the UK’s general election was suspended following the blast, Liberal Democrat Leader Tim Farron cancelled a campaign visit to Gibraltar as a sign of respect for the victims and their families.
The Gibraltar Government said this was the “right decision”, adding that Gibraltar will hold a minute’s silence to correspond with that being held in UK.
The tributes to the Manchester victims were led by Mr Picardo.
“Our thoughts are with the families and friends of the victims of this cowardly criminal act,” he said.
“At this tragic time we are inspired by the stories of the bravery and acts of kindness of the people of Manchester and we stand in solidarity with them in this shared moment of grief.”
“At the same time, we must resolve to continue to go about our daily business and live our lives devoid of the fear that terrorists wish to plant in our world.”
“That is the best way to honour the memory of those murdered today.”
He added: “I very much look forward to visiting Manchester officially again during the party conference season this year.”
“Manchester is a City with close links to many Gibraltarians through personal, professional and educational links and we know it to have the resilience and strength to carry its people beyond this senseless carnage through the generosity and spirit of its great people.”
He added: “Today, we are all Mancunians on the Rock.”
The Leader of the Opposition, Daniel Feetham, said he was shocked and saddened at the brutal atrocity committed on some of the most vulnerable members of society.
“The victims were kids and young people enjoying themselves at a concert,” he said.
“There could not have been a softer target for the cowards that perpetrated this outrage.”
“I just cannot fathom how anyone could conceive, let alone commit, an atrocity like this either in the name of religion or any other cause.”
Mr Feetham added that the thoughts and prayers of everyone within the GSD family are with the victims and their families.
Independent MP Marlene Hassan Nahon said: “Regrettably, I once again find myself having to express my anger and sorrow as yet more innocent lives have been lost to a futile cause.”
“I studied in Manchester and am very fond of the city and of its people, and I am aghast that an event of such joy as a music concert enjoyed by many young people should now be forever tarnished by death and destruction.”
“These atrocities are happening far too often, and the world's leaders must repeatedly condemn these actions and expose them for the acts of inhumane cowardice that they are.”
She added: “As we reflect on our confusion and frustration, we must support the city of Manchester as we did that of London only a few months ago.”
“We must hold these blameless victims in our hearts, in our thoughts and in our prayers. We must continue to defy the actions of hate and present the face of a humanity that will never be defeated. Once again, we will stand in solidarity and send a clear message that our freedoms and values will remain as strong as ever.”