Thousands of people turned out for a vigil in Manchester, England, on Tuesday evening, with the crowd holding a minute of silence to honour the victims of an attack at the conclusion of an Ariana Grande concert.

The identities of some of the 22 people killed in the attack have been released publicly. The first deaths reported were a teenage superfan of the American pop star, an eight-year-old girl whose mother and sister were said to be injured in the blast and a 26-year-old man from a suburb of Manchester. 

And a day after the event, some families were still frantically looking for missing relatives.

Eddy Newman, lord mayor of Manchester, and the city's police chief were among the speakers in front of the town hall in Albert Square. Several people in the crowd held up signs with "I Love MCR," an abbreviation for Manchester.

A banner with a website for a Muslim group read, "Love for all, Hatred for None."

"The people of Manchester will remember the victims forever and we will defy the terrorists by working together to create cohesive, diverse communities that are stronger together," said Newman. "We are the many, they are the few."

CBC correspondent Margaret Evans, who was at the vigil, said the MCR signs and scarves of the city's football clubs lent the proceedings a sense of solidarity and defiance in addition to the expected displays of emotions and laying of flowers.

Poet Tony Walsh draws loud cheers at Manchester vigil0:59

Members of the city's Muslim, Christian, Jewish and Sikh communities said they wanted to show that Manchester, while shocked, would not be cowed.

"It was incredibly emotional ... for us especially as Muslim citizens," said Muhammad Khursheed, an imam of a mosque in the Manchester suburb of Hulme. "We will stand together in spite of oppression, terrorism. A strong, powerful message today."

A local poet, Tony Walsh, read a poem from the steps of the town hall that drew loud cheers and applause.

"There's hard times again in these streets of our city, but we won't take defeat and we don't want your pity, because this is the place where we stand strong together, with a smile on our face, Mancunians forever," Walsh said.

'Horrific' attack

Sue Murphy, a Manchester city councillor, told CBC's Carol Off that the attack Monday night was "just beyond description."

"It's horrific that anybody can actually think that it's acceptable to target a concert, particularly one with a number of young children at it."

Murphy said there was a determination in the city not to be divided.

Manchester taxi driver explains why he offered free rides to attack victims1:46

"What was overwhelming last night in particular, was the number of people who want to do things and want to help," she said, citing examples of people opening their homes, taxi drivers transporting people for free and cafés opening up after hours.

"It was a real outpouring of support," she told CBC's As It Happens. "That, I think, is the overwhelming thing — not the actions of one individual that have caused so much pain to people, but the response of people to that."Murphy said people have been looking to offer financial support to victims of the attack. She said the city would be launching an emergency appeal at some point that would let people contribute to help families and victims.

A local newspaper, the Manchester Evening News, started a fund to support families. By 5 p.m. ET on Tuesday, the crowdfunding effort had pledges worth more than $1.1 million. 

Another attack 'may be imminent'

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Theresa May announced that the terror threat had been raised to the highest level of "critical" on Tuesday, as investigators continued to probe the attack on the arena.

"It is now concluded on the basis of today's investigations that the threat level should be increased for the time being from severe to critical," May said in a televised statement after a meeting of the government's crisis response committee.

"This means that their assessment is not only that an attack remains highly likely but that a further attack may be imminent."

Manchester police Chief Ian Hopkins identified the bombing suspect as Salman Abedi, 22, but gave no other details. British election rolls listed Abedi as living in a modest, red brick, semi-detached house in a suburb of Manchester where police performed a controlled explosion Tuesday afternoon.

ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack, but its assertion was not yet verified.

With files from CBC News and Reuters