Asia-Pacific

New Zealand to hold two-minute silence for Christchurch victims

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New Zealand Prime Minster Jacinda Ardern says the country will stop in silence for two minutes on Friday to remember the victims of the mosque shootings.

New Zealand will hold two minutes of silence on Friday to mark a week since the terrorist attack on two mosques in Christchurch.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the silence will include the Muslim call to prayer, which will be broadcast nationally on TVNZ and Radio NZ.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern talks on Wednesday.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern talks on Wednesday.
AAP

The attacks on the mosques by an armed gunman, which resulted in the deaths of 50 people and the injury of 50 others, happened on Friday March 15.

Ms Ardern also said arrangements for a memorial service, likely to be held next week, were still being made.

"While it will be in Christchurch, we are looking at how we can involve the rest of New Zealand," she told reporters in Christchurch on Wednesday.

Turkey controversy

While facing the media, Ms Ardern was asked about Turkish president Tayipp Erdogan's recent controversial comments.

The Turkish strongman made references to the death of Anzac troops during the WWI Gallipoli campaign as he ramped up rhetoric in the wake of attacks.

He told a rally of supports any visitors with anti-Muslim views "would be sent back in coffins like their grandfathers", referencing allied casualties during the bloody campaign.

Ms Ardern said, "I do not accept that we will see the long-term change in our relationship. It is so deeply entrenched. They cared for our fallen. Hundreds and thousands of New Zealanders have made pilgrimages to that place as an acknowledgement of what ties and binds our countries".

"And so I reject the idea that we are losing that relationship, or will lose that relationship"

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has played parts of the alleged gunman's video as part of his rallies.
Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has played parts of the alleged gunman's video as part of his rallies.
AP

Ms Ardern’s deputy prime minister Winston Peters will travel to Turkey and discuss the subject.

"He is going there to set the record straight," Ms Ardern said.

Personal reaction

The prime minister was also asked several times about how she was personally responding to the aftermath of the attack.

"Everyone in New Zealand and internationally is reading the same stories I read. And my response is no different," she said.

New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern hugs a student on Wednesday.
New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern hugs a student on Wednesday.
AAP

"Yes, I have a role I need to play. I feel the grief, I hear the grief. But I also have a duty of care to the people involved in this to also keep going.

"And so if the imam who stood at the front of a mosque and saw firsthand the loss of his worshippers in front of him can keep going, then I definitely can."

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