11,000 at the Basin Reserve for Christchurch vigil

11,000 at the Basin Reserve for Christchurch vigil

WELLINGTON, New Zealand — A sports stadium usually filled with cheering crowds instead provided a snapshot of a nation in shock Sunday (March 17), as tens of thousands of New Zealanders came together to mourn the victims of Friday’s mosque shootings — and become part of a global debate over the role of guns and intolerance.

While Muslim leaders prayed for peace and togetherness, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern earlier in the day spoke forcefully about guns.

“There will be changes to our gun laws,” Ardern said at a news conference. “We will be discussing more detailed policy elements at cabinet tomorrow.”

Leaders are considering a total ban on semiautomatic weapons like the one avowed neo-Nazi Brenton Harrison Tarrant, a 28-year-old Australian, is accused of using to kill 50 people in attacks on two mosques in the city of Christchurch.

An additional 34 people are in Christchurch Hospital, with 12 in critical condition in intensive care. A 4-year-old girl has been moved to a dedicated children’s hospital in Auckland, where she is also in critical condition.

Besides the debate on gun control, New Zealanders considered a call to open doors to more refugees and whether an enormously successful rugby team in Canterbury should change its name from the Crusaders because of the overtones of religious intolerance.


— The Washington Post

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