Heartbroken New Zealanders mourn victims lost to Christchurch mass shooting
17 March, 2019, 06:15 | Author: Wade Massey
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern awed American gun control advocates Friday night when she announced that her administration would promptly pursue changes to her country's gun laws following the shooting deaths of 49 people at two mosques in Christchurch-in stark contrast to the response of the US government to similar attacks.
A noisy generator raring from a construction site next to the Christchurch Justice Precinct was a stark and irritating reminder of those tragic events, as media and members of the public gathered awaiting Tarrant's court appearance.
The video showed a man driving to the Al Noor mosque, entering it and shooting randomly at people with a semi-automatic rifle.
So far three suspects are now in custody. No images have emerged from there.
"The NSW joint Counter-Terrorism Team has begun an Australian based investigation to assist New Zealand Police", the AFP spokesperson said.
Tarrant is expected to face additional charges and two others are in custody. Prime Minister Narendra Modi Friday wrote to his New Zealand counterpart expressing his deepest condolences to the bereaved families of the victims.
Facebook said it had deleted the gunman's accounts "shortly after the livestream commenced" after being alerted by police. New Zealand´s prime minister vowed to toughen the country´s gun laws after revealing on March 16 that the man accused of murdering 49 people in two mosques legally purchased the arsenal of firearms used in the massacre.
They are all Australian citizens, but not in any watch list of New Zealand or Australia. The judge said "it was reasonable to assume" more such charges would follow.
On Saturday, Christchurch Hospital said 39 people remained in hospital, 11 of them in intensive care.
"If this evil thinks we will stop going to our mosque here or stop doing our worship to our god, Allah, we can not ever stop", Linwood mosque Imam Ibrahim Abdelhalim said.
Whether it was at her media conference in the immediate aftermath of the Christchurch mosque massacre on Friday or comforting the devastated Muslim community in the shaken city yesterday, the 38-year-old leader has displayed the right balance of strength and compassion in the aftermath of the atrocity that killed 49 and injured 39 more.
"Many of you may have seen the footage of the arrests, and I can only describe it as an act of bravery on behalf of all New Zealanders, and an act that shows very little regard for their own personal safety", she said.
TESSA BURROWS via Getty ImagesResidents pay respect by placing flowers for the victims of the mosques attacks in Christchurch on Saturday.
The majority of victims were migrants or refugees from countries such as Pakistan, India, Malaysia, Indonesia, Turkey, Somalia and Afghanistan.
She did not offer too much detail, but said a ban on semi-automatic weapons would be looked at.
"I'm not sure how to deal with this. Forgiving is going to take time", Omar Nabi, whose father Haji Daoud Nabi was gunned down, told reporters outside the Christchurch court.
New Zealand has in the past tried to tighten firearm laws, but a strong gun lobby and culture of hunting has stymied such efforts. A fourth person who had been taken into custody was later determined to be an armed bystander who wanted to help police.
Armed police were deployed at several locations in all cities, unusual in a country where levels of gun violence are low . Another person who was earlier arrested was said to be a member of the public carrying a firearm who was trying to help.
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At about the same time, there was a second shooting at Masjid mosque in Linwood, where seven more were killed. After parking, he took two guns and walked a short distance to the mosque where he opened fire.
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49 dead in New Zealand mosque shootings
Brenton Tarrant posted a 73-page manifesto on twitter before he started to kill people, he described them as a terrorist attack. In a statement he said: "Our hearts go out to the people of New Zealand following the news of this bad act in Christchurch".
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