Belfast vigil in memory of 39 container lorry dead

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A vigil has been held in Belfast to pay tribute to the 39 Chinese nationals who died in the container tragedy.

A small crowd of people held lit candles at the front of City Hall as a mark of respect for those who lost their lives.

Vigil held at Belfast City Hall for the 39 people who were found dead in a lorry trailer yesterday in Essex. Rebecca Ng from the Chinese Welfare Association NI leads the vigil. ''Picture: Jonathan Porter/PressEye

Vigil held at Belfast City Hall for the 39 people who were found dead in a lorry trailer yesterday in Essex. Rebecca Ng from the Chinese Welfare Association NI leads the vigil. ''Picture: Jonathan Porter/PressEye

Immigration lawyer Sinead Marmion was one of the organisers of the event on Thursday night.

“We decided to organise this late last night because we are so outraged at what has gone on and so horrified at the events and the scale of the lives lost in such a horrific way,” she said.

“We talk to people on a daily basis who have made horrendous journeys.

“We are silent a lot of the time too, for the protection of our own clients, but this really compelled us to come out and try to make other people aware of the scale of human trafficking and the nature of it all around us in our society.”

Rebecca Ng, from the Chinese Welfare Association, said the community in Belfast had been shocked by the incident in Essex.

“Such tragedies are really sad,” she said.

“These could be a father, a brother, a son of a member of the Chinese community here, they are maybe someone we know or a friend of us.

“This has happened with the Chinese nation but it can happen with other people from different countries as well.

“They have their reasons. They take all this risk and risk their lives to come over here.

“So no matter what the reason, it must be a good reason, and they just look for a better life.”