Over a hundred people attended a vigil for murdered Filipina trans woman Mhelody Polan Bruno tonight outside the Newtown Neighbourhood Centre.
Those who attended listened to speeches from members of the Sydney branch of the Anakbayan Filipino pro-democracy movement, the Anticolonial Asian Alliance, and House of Slé’s Bhenji Ra.
It was an impressive crowd for an event that was only planned three days ago and attendees were told that it would touch Mhelody’s family in the Philippines to learn of the outpouring of emotion for their daughter in Sydney.
A minute of silence was held at the end of the event, lead by Bhenji, after which people were invited to leave candles in front of two memorial images of Mhelody that were set up on either side of the Neighbourhood Centre’s front doors.
The Star Observer understands that the Philippines Consulate has agreed to repatriate Mhelody’s body to the Philippines but is so far refusing to cover the cost of transporting her body to her home town for burial.
It is unclear how much longer it will be before NSW Police can release her body for repatriation as the investigation is ongoing.
Another vigil was held tonight in Wagga Wagga, where Bruno had been staying at the time of her death, attracting thirty mourners.
Bruno had been holidaying in Australia for two months and was due to depart on September 28.
A 31-year-old man was arrested on September 22 at Wagga Wagga Police Station the day after Mhelody was found unresponsive at a home unit.
He was charged with manslaughter and granted strict conditional bail to appear at Wagga Wagga Local Court on November 6.
A protest event is being organised for October 24 outside the Philippines Consulate.
The Star Observer will update you as more details emerge around this story.