'We are united': Around 200 people gather in Surrey to honour victims of Sri Lanka attacks
'No matter what religion we are, we are Sri Lankan'
Around 200 people gathered in Surrey's Holland Park on Monday night for a vigil in honour of the people killed in a string of attacks in Sri Lanka over Easter weekend.
At least 310 people were killed and hundreds more were injured in a series of co-ordinated bomb blasts that rocked churches and hotels across the country on Sunday.
Many of the attacks targeted worshippers gathered to celebrate Easter Sunday and were believed to be carried out by suicide bombers from a local Islamic group, authorities said.
In Surrey, mourners lit candles and lay flowers. A Buddhist monk led the crowd in prayer.
Ira Waranasinghe, who attended the vigil, said the overwhelming feelings in the crowd were shock and sadness.
"It's been a peaceful country for years, and this is what happened. So, why?" she said, before sharing a message to people back in Sri Lanka:
"Please be calm. Please do whatever you can to help others, and give blood if you can and help the families that are affected by this."
Heshani Indrasiri teared up while speaking, saying she moved to Canada from Sri Lanka 15 years ago.
"I just came here to give them my prayers and my blessings and my thoughts for the people who lost their lives. It's very hard, it's very emotional. We thought our war was over a long time ago," she said, referring to the country's civil war, which ended in 2009.
"We have to gather and we have to show we are united as Sri Lankans. Religion is just religion but we are all Sri Lankans."
Zeeniya Nizam, a doctor who spoke at the vigil, said the crowd gathered to show that even though they are far from Sri Lanka, they support their country.
She also delivered a message for people in her home country: "Be united, that's No. 1. There are forces that are trying to divide our small country into little groups, so we ask all our brothers and friends to be united and work hard to win peace.
"Peace is the most important thing."
A second vigil will be held on Tuesday night.
With files from Eva Uguen-Csenge