New Zealand mosque attack death toll rises to 50

Tamim Iqbal

The worshippers and their families caught up in the attacks in the normally peaceful city of Christchurch came from around the world.

"Our other key priority is making sure that those people so horribly affected by these events get the support and welfare that they need", the New Zealand Police said in a statement.

Tarrant is 28 and was arraigned Saturday on the first of many expected murder charges.

Handcuffed, barefoot wearing a white prison suit, Tarrant did not speak.

Tarrant reportedly made a "white power" hand gesture during his court appearance.

He was remanded in custody to reappear in court April 5.

Tarrant, who was not granted name suppression, smirked to the camera of the media dock and frequently scanned the court room which was closed to the public.

Muslims account for just over 1 percent of New Zealand's population.

"There have been attempts to change our laws in 2005, 2012 and after an inquiry in 2017".

Police presence in Christchurch and around the country was heightened while families arrived to streets near the mosques with tributes for the victims.

According to New Zealand Police Commissioner Mike Bush, the shooter had "category-A" license.

Most of the victims of the attacks were immigrants from Pakistan, India, Malaysia, Indonesia, Turkey, Somalia and Afghanistan.

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"I can't even go to the mosque now because I am scared of that happening again", the 16-year-old told New Zealand television. "My message was sympathy and love for all Muslim communities", she said she told him. He was shot in the abdomen and the leg.

Yesterday she vowed to change New Zealand's gun laws, confirming the "primary perpetrator" used five weapons.

"But that arrest was tangential to this matter and we do not believe that he was involved in this attack either", he said.

"When people, of course, hear that this individual had acquired a gun licence and acquired weapons of that range, then obviously I think people will be seeking change, and I'm committing to that", Ms Ardern said.

"It's the time for change", said Ardern. He remains the only person charged in relation to the attacks, Bush said. One of the women told Xinhua "No matter what cultural backgrounds, races or religions you are from, we are absolutely together".

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison described the suspect as an "extremist right-wing violent terrorist".

Tarrant is expected to face additional charges and two others are in custody. In New Zealand, commentators also anxious that the horror would sow deep divisions in a society that has largely avoided the polarizations that have spread elsewhere.

Tarrant's relatives in the Australian town of Grafton, in New South Wales, contacted police after learning of the shooting and were helping with the investigation, local authorities said.

Ardern said the suspect traveled around the world and was in New Zealand sporadically.

None of those arrested had a criminal history or was on any watchlist in New Zealand or Australia.

People gather at a vigil for Christchurch shootings victims at Lakemba Mosque in Sydney, Australia, March 15, 2019 in this picture obtained from social media. None of them had been on any security watch lists prior to the attack, officials said.

He says one of those people has been released and the other has been charged with firearms offences.

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