Live: Aucklanders rally against racism in wake of terror attack

Section
National,
Publish Date
Sunday, 24 March 2019, 2:54PM
People walk through Auckland during the March for Peace. (Photo / Dean Purcell)
People walk through Auckland during the March for Peace. (Photo / Dean Purcell)

Thousands of people are expected to join a rally in central Auckland this afternoon to oppose racism in the wake of the Christchurch massacre that claimed the lives of 50 people.

The group, Love Aotearoa, Hate Racism, has organised the rally, which begins at Aotea Square and will march through the city to Victoria Park.

Meanwhile a vigil will be held tonight in Christchurch's North Hagley Park.

Auckland rally spokesman Joe Carolan said that while the shooting at the mosques was the deed of one gunman, the attack is the tragic consequence of Aotearoa's failure to address racism within its midst.

(Article continues beneath live blog).

"In contrast to the picture of 'a peaceful, harmonious, tolerant' society painted over the past week, Aotearoa for too long has seen the scapegoating of migrants and refugees, with mainstream politicians blaming immigration for our housing and economic crisis.

"This has given confidence to fascist elements here and overseas, culminating in last week's tragic and harrowing outcome. Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters is himself guilty of perpetuating the myth that mosques conceal a fundamentalist underbelly which poses a threat to Aotearoa. We utterly reject and condemn this anti-Muslim rhetoric," said Carolan

Love Aotearoa Hate Racism is a coalition of unions, community, and migrant groups, which was formed last July in response to attempts by the far right to peddle their Islamophobic, anti-migrant, anti-refugee politics on New Zealand soil.

Other groups associated with the rally include United Union, Socialist Aotearoa, Auckland Unitarians, Migrant Workers Association of Aotearoa, NZ Palestine Solidarity Network and Organise Aotearoa.

Meanwhile thousands of Cantabrians are expected to turn out tonight for a vigil in memory of those killed in the shootings.

The vigil - Remember Those Who Lost Their Lives 15-3-19 - starts at 5pm at North Hagley Park and is expected to run for two hours.

The vigil was organised by Scott Esdaile, who also organised a recent protest in Christchurch against a water bottling company shipping billions of litres of water offshore.

The vigil is expected to start with Linwood mosque Imam Alabi Lateef Zirullah reciting an Islamic prayer.

A spokesman from a university Muslim students group will then read the names of the 50 fallen brothers, sisters and children.

A minute's silence will then be held before a Māori welcome.

The national anthem will be sung alongside other songs including You'll Never Walk Alone, Fix You and a song written especially for the tribute event.

Other speakers include Catholic Bishop Of Christchurch Paul Martin who will read a blessing, the head boy of Cashmere High School where several victims attended and the University of Canterbury Students' Association head.

A kapa haka group will perform and the vigil will end with a rendition of Dave Dobbyn's song Welcome Home.

 

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