LONDON (AP) — Thousands of people gathered in London and cities around the world Wednesday to commemorate British lawmaker Jo Cox, whose killing last week shocked the country amid a fiercely contested campaign over the future of Britain's place in Europe.
Artists, friends and family members took to the stage in Trafalgar Square, a mile from Parliament, to praise a woman they described as a passionate campaigner for the rights of refugees and women. Among those paying tribute were Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai, the actors Gillian Anderson and Bill Nighy, singer Lily Allen and Cox's husband and sister.
"She just wanted people to be happy and the world to be a better place," Brendan Cox told a crowd of about 9,000.
Brendan Cox said his wife, who had campaigned for Britain to remain in the European Union, had died because of her beliefs, but that those beliefs would live on.
"Jo's killing was political," he said, his voice faltering at times. "It was an act of terror designed to advance an agenda of hatred toward others. What a beautiful irony it is that an act designed to advance hatred has instead generated such an outpouring of love."
"She feared the consequences of Europe dividing again," he said.
Cox was shot and stabbed to death in her constituency Thursday by a man who later gave his name in court as "death to traitors, freedom for Britain."
Cox's killing shocked Britain and triggered a three-day pause in campaigning for a referendum Thursday on the country's EU membership.
In a stark reminder of the political backdrop, a small plane flew by the square three times during the event trailing a banner bearing the words "Take Control, Vote Leave." It was unclear whether the plane intentionally buzzed the memorial and whether it was linked to the official "leave" campaign.
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