Call for two-minute silence as the Nation mourns today

Call for two-minute silence as the Nation mourns today

Christchurch, March 22, 2019

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will be among leaders praying alongside the Muslim community in Christchurch this afternoon (RNZ Photo by Ana Tovey)

Christchurch will today mark a week since the city was hit by a terror attack that left 50 people dead.

New Zealand will reflect on those killed in the Christchurch terror attack with two minutes of silence at Hagley Park, opposite the Al Noor Mosque in Deans Avenue.

RNZ feed to all

It will follow a broadcast of the Muslim Call to Prayer at 130 pm on RNZ and TVNZ.

RNZ is the lead radio broadcaster for the event, and is working in partnership with TVNZ. RNZ will provide the feed for any other radio broadcaster that wishes to take it up.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and community leaders have been invited by the Muslim community to be part of the official proceedings.

VIP Attendance

The community leaders will include Dr Mustafa Farouk, President of the Federation of Islamic Associations of New Zealand, Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu Kaiwhakahaere Lisa Tumahai, Ūpoko of Ngāi Tūāhuriri Dr Te Maire Tau and Christchurch mayor Lianne Dalziel.

About 30 foreign dignitaries will attend.

Ms Ardern is encouraging people right around the country to join in reflecting on the events, one week on.

“I know many New Zealanders wish to mark the week that has passed since the terrorist attack and to support the Muslim community as they return to mosques.

“How we choose to reflect during the silence will be different for each of us. Everyone should do what feels right for them, wherever they are – at home, at work, at school,” she said.

The Programme

1.15 pm:  Everyone to be in position

1.30 pm: Muslim Call to Prayer

1.32 pm: Two-minute silence to be observed

1.34 pm: Prayers begin and the crowd must remain silent

2 pm: PM departs

Ms Ardern said that planning was still ongoing for a National Memorial Service, which would be held next week.

“I appreciate there is significant interest in this service from throughout New Zealand and internationally, and we will continue to work closely with the local Muslim community, Ngāi Tahu, FIANZ and Christchurch City Council to provide more information as soon as we can.

“As a nation, as one, we will pay our respects to those who died in Christchurch,” she said.

Gun Laws amendment

Ms Ardern yesterday announced a ban on all military-style semi-automatic weapons, assault rifles and parts used to convert firearms into MSSAs.

As an interim measure, a wider range of semi-automatic weapons have been reclassified to ensure no one can buy MSSAs without police approval and preventing sale of MSSAs and assault rifles to people with a Category A gun licence.

The government will also be establishing a buyback scheme, with an amnesty to apply for those returning banned guns to the police.

The changes have the support of all three government parties and the National Party.

Last night, more than 18,000 people packed into Dunedin’s Forsyth Barr Stadium for a vigil to remember the victims of last week’s terror attack.

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