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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 13 December 2018

Manchester Arena reopens with defiant show against terror attacks

Noel Gallagher, the songwriter for Oasis hit Don't Look Back In Anger, headlined the concert with his anthem for the city

Fans at the We Are Manchester benefit show watched acts such as Noel Gallagher and Rick Astley
Fans at the We Are Manchester benefit show watched acts such as Noel Gallagher and Rick Astley

The names of 22 victims of the Manchester Arena suicide bombing were read out at the start of an emotional benefit concert on Saturday as the venue opened for the first time since the attack in May.

Noel Gallagher was joined by thousands as he closed the gig with ‘Don’t Look Back in Anger’ the song by former band Oasis which became an unofficial anthem for the city.

Families who lost ones and the injured from the attack three months ago were among the audience for the sold-out show. Charlotte Campbell, whose daughter Olivia, 15, was among the victims, said she "had to come back as a show of defiance".

"We have to show we are not scared and we don't want Manchester to be scared. We are proud coming here," she told the Sunday People.

The re-opening was accompanied by tight security with crowds told to leave backpacks at home and warned that they would face additional security checks to get into the refurbished venue.

The bomber, Salman Abedi, carried a rucksack filled with metal objects to cause as much devastation as possible when he detonated the device in a foyer at the venue following a concert by the US singer Ariana Grande. Some of the dead were up to 20 metres from Abedi, 22, who also died when he triggered the explosion.

Some of those affected made a private trip to the venue this week to lay flowers where their loved ones were killed. Specialist trauma experts would be available for those who needed help at the venue, said officials.

The mayor of Manchester Andy Burnham said the concert was the “strongest possible statement” to show that people would continue to stand together in the face of such acts. He read out the names of the dead at the start of the show.

"Thank you to the city for coming together," he said. "Thank you for being who you are. We are Manchester, a city united, nothing will ever change us, nothing will ever divide us."