PM hugs mourners as country pays tribute to Christchurch victims

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New Zealand’s prime minister has hugged mourners outside a mosque as the country paid tribute to the victims of the Christchurch shootings.

Jacinda Ardern also laid a wreath outside the mosque in Kilbirnie, Wellington, where people sang a Maori rendition of Hallelujah.

There were emotional scenes across New Zealand as people came out to remember the victims of Friday’s shootings, which left 50 people dead and scores injured.

The fatalities at the al Noor mosque and the Linwood Islamic Centre include two boys, aged three and four, and a woman who was shielding her disabled husband.

A 28-year-old Australian, Brenton Tarrant, is accused of carrying out the mass shootings and live-streaming part of the atrocity on Facebook. He also posted a 74-page anti-immigrant manifesto on social media.

Tarrant appeared in court on Saturday charged with one murder, with a judge saying more charges will likely follow.

PM hugs mourners as country pays tribute to Christchurch victims
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A mourner breaks down as Christchurch remembers those killed in the massacres

Ms Ardern has said her office was one of more than 30 recipients of the suspect’s manifesto just nine minutes before guns were fired.

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She said: “It did not include location. It did not include specific details. Within two minutes of receipt it was conveyed directly to parliamentary security.”

“Had it provided details that could have been acted on immediately it would have been, but unfortunately there were no such details in the email.”

PM hugs mourners as country pays tribute to Christchurch victims
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Many friends and relatives of those killed are struggling to make sense of what happened

Ms Ardern has said New Zealand’s gun laws will change as a result of the shootings.

At least 31 shooting victims have been identified so far as the process of returning bodies to their families is under way.

Ms Ardern said she expected all bodies to be returned to families by Wednesday.

Islamic law calls for bodies to be cleansed and buried as soon as possible after death, usually within 24 hours.

PM hugs mourners as country pays tribute to Christchurch victims
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Flowers have lined the streets of Christchurch as the city comes to terms with the tragedy

Police Commissioner Mike Bush has said police were in attendance within six minutes of receiving calls and the armed offenders squad was mobilised within 10 minutes.

Tributes were pouring in from across New Zealand, a peaceful nation where the outburst of violence came as a shock.

Maoris performed an emotional haka outside the al Noor mosque on Sunday where at least 41 people were shot dead.

PM hugs mourners as country pays tribute to Christchurch victims
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Jacinda Ardern embraces a woman outside a mosque in Wellington

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PM hugs mourners as country pays tribute to Christchurch victims



Maoris perform the haka in tribute

A effects.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">young woman sang John Lennon’s Imagine as bystanders sobbed and embraced each other.

A wall of flowers from well-wishers has formed at Christchurch’s botanical gardens.

Tributes have also taken place across the world, with the Sydney Opera House being lit up with New Zealand’s national symbol the silver fern.

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PM hugs mourners as country pays tribute to Christchurch victims



Girl sings Imagine in tribute to NZ victims

PM hugs mourners as country pays tribute to Christchurch victims
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The Sydney Opera House has the national symbol of New Zealand lit up on its side

A vigil was held in the Pakistani city of Lahore and Bosnia’s historical Old Bridge was lit up with the New Zealand flag.

A fund to support the families of victims has so far raised 4.3m New Zealand dollars (£2.2m).

The page on the site Givealittle was created by a council of victim support groups.