Police Commissioner Mike Bush said officers had finally been able to share a list of victims with families, something delayed by the need for careful police work and the sheer scale of the tragedy.AFP | Mar 17, 2019, 08:09 IST
Around Christchurch, New Zealand and the world there have been vigils, prayers, memorials and messages of solidarity."We stand together with our Muslim brothers & sisters" were the words on a large-red banner above a sea of flowers at one of the sites in what one resident dubbed the "city of sorrow".
At Christchurch's "Cardboard Cathedral" -- built after the 2011 earthquakes that still scar this close-knit city -- Dean Lawrence Kimberley held a service to stand "in solidarity with the Muslim community.""We learned during the earthquakes that in times of trial it is good to reach out to each other. It is time to do this again," he told the congregation. In Auckland, tearful residents of all ethnicities stood arm-in-arm outside the Umar Mosque to pay their respects. Across the Tasmin Sea, Australians shocked that such an atrocity in their sister nation could be perpetrated by one of their own, vowed to provide any help they can. In Sydney, a silver fern -- the symbol of New Zealand -- was projected onto the side of the world famous Opera House. On Saturday, Tarrant appeared in a Christchurch court to face the first of what is expected to be a host of murder charges. Flanked by armed police, the former personal fitness trainer gestured an upside-down "okay" — a symbol used by white power groups worldwide. He did not request bail and was remanded in custody until an April 5 court appearance. Another man arrested on Friday will appear in court on Monday on charges that are "tangential" to the attacks, though he was not believed to be involved in the shootings, police told reporters Sunday. The mosque attacks have shaken this usually peaceful country, which prides itself on welcoming refugees fleeing violence or persecution.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has vowed to change the country's gun laws and to uncover how a noted extremist legally purchased two semi-automatic weapons, reportedly AR-15s, two shotguns and a lever-action gun without drawing the attention of the authorities.
The suspect documented his radicalisation and two years of preparations in a lengthy, meandering and conspiracy-filled far-right "manifesto".
And it has emerged that multiple warning signs were there, from a former soldier who raised concerns about extremism at Tarrant's gun club in Dunedin to warning emails sent to the prime minister's office that were not seen until after the attack.