Friday, 22 March, 2019

New Zealand shooting: suspect Brenton Tarrant in court charged with murder

New Zealand mosque shooting: At least 49 killed after gunmen open fire Tory leader Scheer issues new statement on attacks including mention of Muslims
Charles Bowen | 16 March, 2019, 04:41

Police Commissioner Mike Bush declined to comment on whether it was an act of terrorism but said the situation was unprecedented in New Zealand.

One man was arrested and charged with murder in what appeared to be a carefully planned racist attack. A raft of further charges are expected.

NZ Police closed the Christchurch court to the public over security concerns, but media was able to attend. Tarrant was remanded in custody without plea to the high court in Christchurch on 5 April.

Tarrant states in his writings that he took inspiration from many others, but most notably from Anders Breivik, a Norwegian far-right terrorist who killed eight people in an Oslo vehicle bombing in July 2011 in addition to shooting dead 69 other individuals at a summer camp for youth members of Norway's Labor Party.

"Enough is enough. Every time they're silent, it says to us that they are the ones part of the problem... they are the problem".

The gunman livestreamed the attack on Facebook and posted a manifesto that was filled with anti-immigrant, white supremacist and Islamophobic rhetoric.

Al-Azhar University, Egypt's 1,000-year-old seat of Sunni Islamic learning, called the attack "a unsafe indicator of the dire consequences of escalating hate speech, xenophobia and the spread of Islamophobia".

A woman who said she was a colleague of his when he worked as a personal trainer in the Australian city of Grafton said she was shocked by the allegations against him.

In spite of this, a cult of personality has grown around Kjellberg, as evidenced by the "subscribe to Pewdiepie" meme evoked by the gunman, in which fans encourage people to subscribe to Kjellberg's channel so that he remains the most-followed person on YouTube. "Hopefully she will be so much better", he said.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the attacks a "brazen act of terror".

About 41 people were killed at the Masjid Al Noor mosque in central Christchurch at about 1:45 pm [local time], and the rest were killed in a second shooting at the Linwood Masjid Mosque. Schools were temporarily put on lockdown in the city, which is the largest on the South Island of New Zealand, with a population of about 400,000.

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US President Donald Trump condemned the "horrible massacre" in which "innocent people have so senselessly died", but denied that the problem of right-wing extremism was widespread.

"He had a big gun. he came and started shooting everyone in the mosque, everywhere."

Facebook said it had deleted the gunman's accounts "shortly after the livestream commenced" after being alerted by police.

The visiting Bangladesh cricket team narrowly avoided the shooting after arriving at the mosque for prayers. "Now is the time for change", Ms Ardern told reporters in Wellington on Saturday morning.

A witness described the sound of gunfire breaking out just as the prayer leader began his sermon at a mosque.

"Horrified to hear of Christchurch mosque shootings".

Bulgaria's chief prosecutor said his country launched a probe on Friday into a November 2018 visit by the suspect.

At least two Jordanians were among the dead, according to that country's foreign minister, while Pakistan foreign ministry spokesman Mohammed Faisal said five citizens of his country were missing.

National Deputy Director of the Australian Institute of International Affairs Dr Bryce Wakefield said New Zealand's gun laws "were known for being particularly lax".

Christchurch is home to almost 400,000 people and is sometimes called the Garden City. This, I want to assure people, is to ensure that all our agencies are responding in the most appropriate way, that includes at our borders.

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