New Zealanders Gather Amid Coronavirus Pandemic to Remember Victims Christchurch Mosque Attacks One Year On

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Sunday marked the one year anniversary of the gruesome attacks on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, where 51 people were killed and 49 were injured. 

Even though New Zealand currently has less than 10 confirmed cases of the Coronavirus, plans for an official memorial were called off due to fears over the deadly disease. Yet small groups of people, including survivors, still gathered at the mosques to lay flowers, perform traditional haka dances and pay their respects.

"We are sad more than we are angry, and it is very emotional. When I woke up this morning, it's speechless, I can't explain what I feel this morning, I was thinking and looking at the time, ok it's 8 o'clock now, and five hours later last year I'm going to be injured with nine bullets," survivor Temel Atacocugu told the Associated Press. 

In another show of unity, about 3,000 people have written messages of love and hope for the city’s Muslim community, the BBC reports. The initiative was organized by “All Right?” a well-being campaign set up after the 2011 earthquakes, meant to encourage people to share their feelings. It has become active again after last year’s attacks.

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