Christchurch remembrance service cancelled due to coronavirus

Cheryl Sanders
March 18, 2020

"We're very saddened to cancel, but in remembering such a bad tragedy, we shouldn't create the risk of further harm being done", Ardern said Saturday. "Today, it is such a privilege to be in this country".

Ardern said more general restrictions on public gatherings would be imposed but details had not yet been finalized.

Days before the first anniversary of the shooting in Christchurch that killed 51 Muslim worshippers, an image appeared in a post on an encrypted messaging app showing a balaclava-clad man outside one of the attacked mosques with a threat and a gun emoji.

The New Zealand government has announced new restrictions to tackle the coronavirus crisis, however Fiji and other Pacific Island countries are exempted from this measure.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the choice to cancel the ceremony at Horncastle Arena, also declared Saturday, was precautionary and pragmatic. All of those have been connected with global travelers and there have been no signs yet of any local outbreaks.

"I feel I could die anytime and I should not be afraid because I have got my freedom not to be afraid". On Friday she attended a special joint prayer with members of both mosques that were attacked. "If there are differences there is another way and that is the peaceful way".

"New Zealand has to date, relative to other counties, a small number of cases (but) it is not realistic for New Zealand to have only a handful of cases", Ardern said.

Ardern drew attention to laws changed in response to the attacks. "However the problem for us might be making certain that in our on a regular basis actions - and in each alternative the place we see bullying, harassment, racism, discrimination - calling it out as a nation".

She additionally talked about her work on attempting to eradicate terror assaults from being proven on-line, after the gunman livestreamed the Christchurch assaults.

Ardern was praised globally for her compassionate yet decisive response to the mass shooting, after she outlawed weapons used in the attack within weeks and launched a global campaign for government and tech companies to combat online hate.

Ardern's empathetic response after the attacks and her message of unity resonated around the world past year.

The mosque attacker Brenton Tarrant, an Australian national, is due to go on trial on June 2 facing terrorism charges plus 51 counts of murder and 40 of attempted murder over the killings.

If found guilty, he'd face a sentence of life imprisonment.

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