New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has applauded the police and worshipers during what she called the country’s darkest days. Addressing the opening of parliament, Arden called on everyone to remain alert or give the suspect of the Christchurch shootings notoriety.
— Reuters Top News (@Reuters) March 19, 2019
Ardern has promised action in response to the attack. She also said some things will have to change.
“I have said many times Mr Speaker; we are a nation of 200 ethnicities, 160 languages. We open our doors to others and say welcome, and the only thing that must change after the events of Friday, is that this same door must close on all of those who espouse hate and fear.”
Tributes to those killed have continued to pour in to Christchurch. Mountains of flowers are spread outside the doors of mosques
Ardern says the want all members of the community to feel safe.
“These are ways of expressing an outpouring of love and empathy, but we wish to do more. We wish for every member of our communities to also feel safe. Safety means being free from the fear of violence, but it also means being free from the fear of those sentiments of racism and hate that create a place where violence can flourish. And every single one of us has the power to change that.”
New Zealand immigration said scores of visas have been granted for travelling family members to attend the funerals and teams of volunteers were flown in to assist with the Muslim rituals for their burial. On the grass outside a church in New Zealand lie 50 pairs of white shoes, each representing one of the lives lost in a mass shooting at two mosques in the community just a few days ago.
“One of the sorts of things we’re aware off was the tradition of taking off your shoes as you went into worship. And suddenly the thought that there were 49 and 50 pairs of shoes that would never be filled again, was just an image that just kept coming back,” said Megan Merles-Mooar, Vicar of All Souls Church.
People of all faiths have come to view the shoes:
“And it’s been a beautiful opportunity for the community to come somewhere to grieve and to mourn, even if they don’t want to come into the church.”
Meanwhile, New Zealander farmer John Hart has owned semi-automatic rifles for at least 10 years, but following the mass shooting in Christchurch last Friday that left 50 dead, he has surrendered his weapons to the local authorities.
“I originally posted a photo of my documentation to show some friends that I’ve done what I did, in handing in my weapon. I was really just living my values, I couldn’t in all conscience keep my semi-automatic rifle once I knew how I felt about them in the country and so it just seem like the right thing to do.”
The city of Christchurch has come together in mourning following the attack. Australian Brenton Tarrant, a suspected white supremacist, was charged with murder on Saturday. He’s due back in court on 5 April, where police say he’ll likely face more charges.