Flowers laid for slain British lawmaker

16th June 2016, Comments 0 comments

Tearful Labour Party colleagues laid flowers outside the British parliament Thursday in memory of pro-EU lawmaker Jo Cox, hours after she was killed in a shock attack in Yorkshire.

Dozens of people gathered next to a large picture of the 41-year-old former charity worker, who was known for campaigning for the European Union and refugee rights, lighting candles and leaving bouquets.

Members of the Labour Party were joined by human rights activists to mourn Cox, the first British MP to be killed in office since Ian Gow was killed by a car bomb planted by the Irish Republican Army in 1990.

She was left bleeding on the pavement after reportedly being shot and stabbed in the village of Birstall in northern England, according to witnesses quoted by media.

"What's happened is beyond appalling. We are here in silent memory of her loss," Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said as rain began to fall.

"This is a shocking occasion and I hope everybody realises hatred will never solve problems. Only people coming together will solve problems," he said.

"We are suspending all campaigning activities until the weekend as a mark of respect for her," he said, referring to the tense run-up to Britain's European Union membership referendum next week.

Fatima Ibrahim, a 23-year-old campaigner with human rights group Avaaz, which helped organise the protest, told AFP she was "devastated".

"She was a fearless campaigner, and a voice for the voiceless. We feel shaken by her loss, but committed to meeting the hatred that killed her with love.

"We feel shaken by her loss," she said.

Tributes written on a white placard included: "You can't kill democracy"; "Fight for what is right" and "We are not Remain, Leave, Tory, Labour or Lib Dem tonight. We are Britons with a belief in parliament and democracy."

In Birstall, a village of around 16,000 residents where eyewitnesses told British media they saw her being gunned down, mourners laid flowers at the foot of a statue.

Hundreds also gathered to pray at the local St Peter's church.

British voters, who are sharply divided over so-called Brexit, go to the polls on June 23.

© 2016 AFP

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