Christchurch Memorial: standing ovation for Ardern on duty in New Zealand | News from the world


New Zealand's prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, is greeted with a standing ovation as he stepped onto the stage to address a crowd of thousands gathered in Hagley Park for a nationwide commemoration service in honor of 50 people killed in the worst attack terrorist in the country.

"The world has been locked in a vicious circle of extremism that generates extremism and must end," he said.

"We cannot face these problems alone, none of us can … The answer lies in our humanity. But for now we will remember the tears of our nation and the new resolution we have formed".

The service, known as Ko Tātou, Tātou We Are One, was broadcast live to many other events taking place across the country, to commemorate the 50 people who died two weeks ago when an armed man took the assault two mosques in the center of Christchurch.

People from 59 countries attended the event, including Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and other heads of state of the Pacific. Attack survivors and those who lost loved ones were also present, as was musician Yusuf Islam, formerly Cat Stevens, who performed at the event.

"Each of us holds power – in our words, in our actions, in our daily acts of kindness – let it be the legacy of March 15," said Ardern.

Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel told the crowd that they all have a responsibility to question their own opinions and "the comfort we give to people who might harbor racist or hateful opinions," adding, "We will not be defined by what happened on the March 15th. "

The president of the Muslim Council of Canterbury Shaggaf Khan said he was deeply saddened by the event but humiliated by the outpouring of the pain that followed.

"That you didn't leave us alone in our sadness. New Zealand responded in a way that none of us will ever forget – that made the world know who we really are."

Farid Ahmed, who survived the attack on the Al Noor mosque, said he wanted to offer his prayers for the people who were killed and also for the people who survived.

"I would like to honor you for your presence today … I want to thank New Zealanders for coming together, to show the world that New Zealand is a peaceful country."

Before playing Peace Train, the musician Yusuf Islam said his heart went to those affected and he hopes the negative event will come to show the positive sides of the answer.

"It is only when good people remain seated that evil increases … we have seen the opposite in this country."

The service was led jointly by the government, the city of Christchurch, the local Iwi Ngāi Tahu and the Muslim community.

Large areas of the city were sealed, with the police saying that much planning had entered the service and that public safety was the priority. The national threat level is still high.



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