As she deals with one of New Zealand’s “darkest days”, the Christchurch attack that at the time of publishing had taken dozens of lives, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern issued a rallying cry for solidarity.
“They are us,” she said of those killed and affected during the attack.
“it is clear that this is one of New Zealand’s darkest days. Clearly, what has happened here is an extraordinary and unprecedented act of violence,” she said Friday afternoon as parts of the city were still in lockdown.
“Many of those who will have been directly affected by this shooting may be migrants to New Zealand, they may even be refugees here. They have chosen to make New Zealand their home, and it is their home. They are us.
“The person who has perpetuated this violence against us is not. They have no place in New Zealand. There is no place in New Zealand for such acts of extreme and unprecedented violence, which it is clear this act was.
“For now, my thoughts, and I’m sure the thoughts of all New Zealanders, are with those who have been affected, and also with their families.”
Earlier on in the day and prior to the attack, Ardern had attended the Taranaki climate strike at Puke Ariki, with students protesting in unison with strikers all over the world.
On Wednesday, she had addressed 130 students at Wellington College, where she told students to not “underestimate the power of your voice,.
“I think too often we make this assessment that in order to have an impact, you have to be of voting age. That is just not the case.”
“Keep challenging all of us with the work that you’re doing.”