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Thousands pay tribute to Christchurch victims

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Thousands pay tribute to Christchurch victims

Thousands pay tribute to Christchurch victims

Thousands gather in a Christchurch park for a national memorial service, with speakers calling for the legacy of the tragedy to be a kinder, more tolerant New Zealand.

Michelle Hennessy reports.


Thousands pay tribute to Christchurch victims

At a solemn national remembrance on Friday (March 29), thousands stood in silence at a park in Christchurch, New Zealand.

As the names of 50 people shot dead in the country's deadliest attack were read aloud, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was joined by representatives from around the world.

She and other speakers urged that the legacy of the tragedy - be a kind and tolerant New Zealand.


Peace be upon you.

They were simple words repeated by community leaders who witnessed the loss of their friends and loved ones.

Simple words whispered by the injured from their hospital beds, simple words spoken by the bereaved and everyone I met who has been effected by this attack - As-salamu alaykum.

Peace be upon you." Ardern wore a Maori cloak called a kakahu during the service.

The prime minister's handling of the crisis has won global praise.

And she called on the world to end the cycle of extremism.

Survivor Farid Ahmed spoke at the event, his wife Husna died in the attack - but he spoke of forgiveness.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) SURVIVOR OF AL NOOR MOSQUE ATTACK, FARID AHMED, SAYING: "I don't support his wrong action but at the same time, I cannot deny the fact that he is my human brother.

Each human being is my brother, is my sister.

This is my faith and this is what Allah has taught me." Performers at the ceremony included Yusuf Islam, also known as Cat Stevens, singing his song "Peace Train".

The service was broadcast around the country while at the park, security was tight.

New Zealand remains on high alert while the nation continues to grieve.

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