Around 10,000 people gathered at St George’s Plateau in Liverpool on Wednesday evening for a city vigil, following the publication of the Hillsborough Independent Panel’s report.
The Panel, chaired by Bishop of Liverpool James Jones, found there was a failure of the authorities to help protect people, an attempt to blame the fans and also casts doubt on the original Coroner’s Inquest. Prime Minister David Cameron has made a full apology on behalf of the Government.
The crowd applauded as families took to the Plateau to hear performances from the Love and Joy Gospel Choir, who sang Abide with Me and You’ll Never Walk Alone.
There were also prayers from religious leaders and passionate speeches from relatives as well as Mayor Joe Anderson, Walton MP Steve Rotheram and Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham. And members of Liverpool FC Academy carried and laid out lanterns representing each of the victims.
The names of the 96 were read out by Jamie Carragher, Kenny Dalglish and Ian Ayre of Liverpool FC, and Graeme Sharp representing Everton FC. Mayor of Liverpool, Joe Anderson said: “It was a moving and emotional event which enabled the city to pay tribute to the unswerving determination of the Hillsborough families who have sought the truth for so long.
“It has been a momentous day that the city has waited 23 years for. “It is absolutely clear for everyone to see that those affected were victims not only of a terrible event, but also of an unforgivable miscarriage of justice. “It is to the credit of families that they have never given up on their quest to find out what happened on that dreadful day.
“Now that we finally have the truth of what happened in 1989, we must make sure the families get the justice they deserve.
“We will never forget the impact the Hillsborough disaster had on the bereaved families, on the lives of those who were caught up in the disaster and the long journey the entire city has had to endure for the truth to be heard.”
You can view the Hillsborough Independent Panel report: here
HERE IS THE TEXT OF MAYOR JOE ANDERSON’S SPEECH:
This is a momentous day in Liverpool’s history.
We come together as a city to show our solidarity and support for the families of the 96 who tragically lost their lives on 15 April 1989.
And on behalf of the city, I want to pay tribute to these families. Pay tribute to your determination and your will to get answers to questions that the authorities didn’t want to reveal.
You were driven by a simple desire – the need to understand how, and why, your loved ones lost their lives so needlessly and so avoidably.
The anger, pain and sorrow that you have felt for 23 years is shared by all of us here today, and by thousands of others across Merseyside, across the country and around the world.
I hope that the city coming together as we have done will bring some comfort to the families and all those affected by the tragedy who have suffered for far too long. I hope it shows how much we still care for you all.
So many times over the past 23 years you have been told to keep quiet by the powers that be.
So many times, you have been fobbed off in the hope that you would simply go away. But you have fought on, you have continued to fight to get the truth.
And today, finally, justice is a step closer.
Today there has been an acknowledgement from government that systems, organisations and people failed your sons and daughters, brothers and sisters.
Either through omission or by commission, they failed, and as a result 96 totally innocent people lost their lives.
And that’s why it’s right that there needed to be a publicly stated apology, including the fact that those organisations involved got it wrong and that they are sorry they did.
All this city has ever wanted, all the families have ever wanted, is for the truth to be known.
Truth about what happened to their loved ones.
Lessons were learned from the tragic events at Hillsborough, but at the same time, it is clear that some people forgot that the right to justice is a basic human right which cannot be denied.
Through arrogance, cowardice or a mixture of both, some people forgot that when you do something wrong, you should accept responsibility and apologise for it. People should not have had to fight for justice for 23 years.
People should have said sorry a long time ago.
They say time is a great healer. But for 23 years, no one in positions of authority have apologised for that fateful day.
The wounds could not fully heal, for the families of those who died or were injured, or for our city and its people.
Today, finally, some of your questions are being answered.
96 innocent people, their families and our city had their reputation disgracefully tarnished.
Those in authority and those in the press smeared you, and they smeared Liverpool.
Today, finally, the cover up has been exposed as a cruel deception and evidence of corruption at the very highest level. The truth is finally known.
Tonight we are able to pay our respects to those that lost their lives and others whose lives were cruelly changed at Hillsborough on 15 April 1989.
As Mayor of our City I want to pay tribute to way in which the families that have remained dignified in their grief and steadfast in their determination under the most tragic and terrible circumstances. Treated badly by authorities that should have bent over backwards to support you. I want to thank you and everyone who has supported the campaign on behalf of the whole City.
Today we have been given new hope. The truth is there, revealed as we knew it would be. Now we need to see justice delivered.
We will never forget what happened on 15 April 1989. We will never forget the 96
And we will never ever forget the families who have dealt with the pain since that day and what they have been put through.
You will never walk alone.