Many 'march for love' in New Zealand as mosques reopen
About 3,000 people walked through Christchurch in a 'march for love' early on Saturday, honouring the 50 worshippers massacred in the New Zealand city a week ago, as the mosques where the shooting took place reopened for prayers.
(Text from Reuters)
'He wanted to divide us'
Carrying placards with signs such as, 'He wanted to divide us, he only made us stronger', 'Muslims welcome, racists not', and 'Kia Kaha' - Maori for 'stay strong', people walked mostly in silence or softly sang a Maori hymn of peace.
Al Noor mosque reopened
With armed police on site, the Al Noor mosque, where more than 40 of the victims were killed by a suspected white supremacist, reopened on Saturday.
Police said they were reopening the nearby Linwood mosque as well.
Most victims were migrants
Most victims of the country's worst mass shooting were migrants or refugees from countries such as Pakistan, India, Malaysia, Indonesia, Turkey, Somalia, Afghanistan and Bangladesh.
At Saturday's march, security was heavy, with dozens of armed police officers and buses parked sideways across city streets to close them off for the march.
United in solidarity
On Friday the Muslim call to prayer was broadcast nationwide on television and radio and about 20,000 people attended a prayer service in the park opposite Al Noor mosque in a show of solidarity.
Many women have also donned headscarves to show their support.
Most of the dead were laid to rest at a mass burial in Christchurch on Friday when 26 victims were interred. Others have been buried at private ceremonies or repatriated to their home countries for funerals.