London

Londoners asked to form 'human chain' from fatal crash site to mosque ahead of vigil

Community and faith groups are calling on Londoners to line up along Hyde Park Road and Oxford Street from the intersection where four people from the same family were killed and a child seriously injured Sunday to the London Muslim Mosque.

Thousands are expected to gather in honour of the family killed Sunday

Flowers, stuffed toys, candles and messages of hope have been placed at the site where a Muslim family was killed in London, Ont., on June 6, 2021 (Meagan Fitzpatrick/CBC)

People are being asked to form a human chain that could stretch several kilometres through London, Ont. to honour the family members killed in a hit-and-run attack Sunday night and to support the city's Muslim community.

Community and faith groups are calling on people to create the line from the crime scene at Hyde Park Road and South Carriage Road, along Hyde Park to Oxford Street and east to the London Muslim Mosque, a distance of about 6.7 km.

"Let me encourage while you gather to bring chalk with you and make coloured hearts as a symbol to all of our love and support to keep our city safe," wrote Rick Boyes, the lead pastor at Gateway Church, which is located near the site where the tragedy took place.

Londoners are invited to gather, physically distanced, along the route starting at 6:30 p.m. A vigil is planned for 7 p.m. at the London Muslim Mosque in the parking lot, where thousands are expected to attend.

Thousands are expected to line up along Hyde Park Road and Oxford Street ahead of a vigil at the London Muslim Mosque at 7 p.m. Tuesday. (CBC News)

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will be among those in attendance at the vigil Tuesday evening.

The Muslim family of five, identified as the victims of what police call a hate-motivated attack, were deeply involved in the community and committed to their faith, friends, and family.

Salman Afzaal, 46, his wife Madiha Salman, 44, their 15-year-old daughter Yumna Afzaal and Salman Afzaal's 74-year-old mother were killed after a black truck slammed into them as they took an evening walk. CBC has not been able to confirm the name of Salman Afzaal's mother.

The youngest member of the family, Fayez, 9, survived and remains in hospital in serious condition.

A multi-faith march to end hatred is also being planned by St. Aidan's Anglican Church on Friday. The march will start at the crash site at Hyde Park and South Carriage Road at 7 p.m. and end at the London Muslim Mosque on Oxford Street.

Those who wish to attend the march are encouraged to bring signs and banners in support.

Nathanial Veltman, 20, of London faces four charges of first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder.

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