Manchester Arena explosion
A teddy bear laid at a candlelit vigil, a stark reminder of the high number of young children among those dead and wounded following the explosion at the Manchester Arena concert. Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

Thousands have gathered at a vigil in Albert Square, Manchester, to pay their respects to the victims of the 22 May suicide bombing, which claimed the lives of 22 people, including eight-year-old Saffie Rose Roussos.

Mancunians of every creed and colour swept into the city centre to create a united front against the actions of 22-year-old Salman Abedi, the man Manchester Police say was responsible for the blast.

Whether it was to pay their respects or to show their defiance following the attack, the city saw people gathering in solidarity. In one corner the Manchester Sikh Community handed out free drinks to "help the city at a time when things are bad," BBC reports.

A woman, describing the atmosphere at the vigil said: "Love over hate, that's the message

The city mourns for the dead as people shed tears at the vigil where floral tributes were laid for the victims

Manchester Arena explosion vigil
A woman is consoled as she looks at the floral tributes following an evening vigil outside the Town Hall on 23 May in Manchester. Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images
Manchester bombing vigil
People from Manchester Sikh Community carry 'I love MCR' banners as they arrive to attend a vigil in Albert Square in Manchester, in solidarity with those killed and injured in the May 22 terror attack at the Ariana Grande concert at the Manchester Arena. BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images

Members of the public also laid flowers at the candle lit vigil to honour the victims at Albert Square.

Manchester Arena explosion
A member of the public lays flowers at a candlelit vigil, to honour the victims of Monday evening's terror attack, at Albert Square on May 23, 2017 in Manchester. Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images
Manchester bombing vigil
Members of the public gather to attend a candlelit vigil to honour the victims of Monday evening's terror attack Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images
Manchester bombing vigil
Members of the public gather to attend a candlelit vigil to honour the victims of Monday evening's terror attack Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images
Manchester Arena explosion vigil
Candles lit at Albert Square in memory of the victims of Monday's evening's terror attack. Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images
Manchester Arena explosion vigil
Members of the public looking on at the tributes at the candlelit vigil at Albert Square in Manchester to honour the victims of Monday evening's terror attack. Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

The Town Hall bells chimed six when a full five minutes of silence was observed before Lord Mayor Eddy Newman started to speak.

Newman, said: "The people of Manchester will remember the victims forever and we will defy the terrorists by working together to create cohesive, diverse communities that are stronger together. We are the many, they are the few."

The Bishop of Manchester, the Rt Rev David Walker described the city's belief in diversity and unity and that those who would seek to destroy such things were "the very few, but we are the many, we are Manchester."

Poet Tony Walsh read his ode to Manchester: This is The Place, which was received with cheers from the crowd.

Manchester bombing vigil
People hold 'I love MCR' banners as they arrive to attend a vigil in Albert Square in Manchester, BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images
Manchester bombing vigil George Galloway
George Galloway attends a vigil to honour the victims of Monday evening's terror attack
Manchester bombing vigil
People congregate outside the Town Hall for a vigil in Albert Square in Manchester, northwest England on May 23, 2017, in solidarity with those killed an injured in the May 22 terror attack at the Ariana Grande concert at the Manchester Arena BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images

The sporting world also paid respect to the victims of the terror attack in Manchester. The Ajax players and staff took part in a minute silence ahead of the UEFA Europa League Final that will take place between Ajax and Manchester United at the Friends Arena on 23 May in Stockholm.

Ajax manager Peter Bosz has said that the terror attack has taken the shine off the Europa League final. "The feeling that prevails is the final does not have the glow it should have. It should be a football feast but because of the events in Manchester we are all affected, particularly as we are playing Manchester. It is horrible. My sympathies are heartfelt."

Manchester Arena explosion vigil
The Ajax players and staff take part in a minutes silence in memroy of the victims of the Manchester Concert attack ahead of the UEFA Europa League Final UEFA handout via Getty Images

Separately, West Midlands police said a 39-year-old Birmingham man was arrested on suspicion of possession of an offensive weapon. The man is believed to have a history of mental ill health and is said to be known to police.

Supt Andy Parsons said: "Officers spotted the man acting suspiciously and spoke to him. At this point they have arrested him."

He added: "The man was carrying a bag, and as a precaution, Victoria Square where the vigil was being held, was cleared for around 15 minutes. A small axe was recovered along with a large stick."