At a vigil Sunday, hundreds came to mourn the deaths of nine Winnipeggers who were killed after their plane, Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752, was shot down over Tehran, Iran on Jan. 8.
Of the 176 people who were killed after the Boeing 737 was struck by a missile, 57 of them were Canadians.
Wiping tears, the city’s Iranian community, politicians and other mourners gathered in the Caboto Centre. By the time the vigil began just after 2 p.m., some 500 people had crammed into the banquet hall, leaving standing room only for straggling mourners.
Fresh flowers, candles and photographs of the victims lined the walls.
“There are many people who feel sympathy who are here to pay respect,” said Mohammad Jafari-Jozani, a vigil organizer and University of Manitoba professor.
He knew six of the victims.
“I cannot describe how I feel, I’m still in shock,” he said.
“This is something that is not acceptable to happen in this world.”
Jafari-Jozani felt only sadness when he first learned of the tragedy, but he says that’s changed.
“Now it’s anger. I thought it was an accident,” he said.
“They need to actually find out who was responsible and for what, and then do something.”
But Sunday was a day for mourning — for those who knew the victims to speak out and explain their grief.
“They will be at least relieved,” said Jafari-Jozani.
“Just keeping it inside is hard. It’s very hard.”