NZ to hold nat'l remembrance for Christchurch on Friday
People attend a vigil in tribute to the victims of the twin mosques shootings in Christchurch on March 24, 2019. Photo: AFP
AFP, Christchurch :
New Zealand will hold a national remembrance service for victims of the Christchurch massacre on March 29, the government announced on Sunday, as the country grieves over a tragedy that shocked the world.
The service will take place in Christchurch at 10 am (2100 GMT) local time, two weeks after an Australian white supremacist gunned down 50 Muslims and wounded dozens of others during Friday prayers at two mosques in the city on March 15. "The national remembrance service provides an opportunity for Cantabrians (Christchurch-area residents), New Zealanders and people all around the world to come together as one to honour the victims of the terrorist attack," Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said in a statement.
Brenton Tarrant, a 28-year-old motivated by the white extremist belief that Muslims were "invading"Â Â
estern countries, was arrested within minutes of the massacre and has been charged with murder.
The slaughter, which he cold-bloodedly live-streamed, has rocked the normally laid-back country of 4.5 million.
"In the week since the unprecedented terror attack there has been an outpouring of grief and love in our country," Ardern said. "The service will be a chance to once again show that New Zealanders are compassionate, inclusive and diverse, and that we will protect those values."
The service will be held at Hagley Park in Christchurch, located across the street from the Al Noor Mosque where the killing spree began. Most victims were gunned down at Al Noor before Tarrant killed seven more at the smaller Linwood Mosque several kilometres (miles) away.