Hundreds gather to give blood in Orlando

Hundreds gather to give blood in Orlando
By Catherine Hardy with Reuters, The Guardian, Le Monde
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Officials say the response has been "overwhelming" - but there is frustration in the gay community as some are prevented from donating

  • Hundreds gather to donate blood
  • “Response overwhelming” – officials
  • Frustration in gay community over celibacy rule

Hundreds of people are queuing up to give blood to help the victims of the Orlando shooting.

Locals say they want to help the dozens injured.

“I am doing everything I can, which right now is donating blood to support victims, the victims who lost their lives and those who are still fighting for their lives,” one man told reporters.

“We’re just here to donate blood and hope that we can bring some relief to the blood centres but also to the families and the victims,” said a woman in the queue.

Celibacy rule

The US recently amended federal law allowing gay men to give blood providing they have not had sexual relations for a year.

Some are angry, saying the amended ruling still prevents them from donating blood in emergencies.

Officials at donation organisation OneBlood say the response has been overwhelming.

They are asking donors to come back over the next few days.

As well as those killed, more than 50 people were injured in the shooting in the early hours of Sunday.

Orlando facts

  • Population 270, 930
  • 62 million visitors in 2014

What they are saying

“Gay clubs hold a significant place in LGBTQ history. They were often the only safe gathering place and this horrific act strikes directly at our sense of safety,” – website statement from LGBT advocacy group Equality Florida.

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