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New Zealand Mosque Attacks; Yellow Vest Protests; Protests in Madrid; Social Media and Terrorism; "Extreme Havoc" as Cyclone Moves Inland from Mozambique. Aired 4-5a ET
Aired March 17, 2019 - 04:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
IVAN WATSON, CNN ANCHOR: Hello and welcome to our viewers in the U.S. and around the world. I'm Ivan Watson in Christchurch, New Zealand.
NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: Hi, to you, Ivan.
Hello, everyone. I'm Natalie Allen from CNN Center in Atlanta and we are following new developments in the New Zealand terror attack. Here is the very latest for you.
In the next few hours, bodies of the victims will start being turned over to their families. They hope to have all the bodies returned by Wednesday. It is a process that takes some time, as it was explained.
In a news conference, prime minister Jacinda Ardern said she will meet with her cabinet Monday and start the process of changing the country's gun laws. She confirmed her office received a copy of that hate-filled manifesto believed sent by the suspect.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JACINDA ARDERN, NEW ZEALAND PRIME MINISTER: I was one of more than 30 recipients of a manifesto that was mailed out nine minutes before the attack took place. It did not include a location. It did not include specific details.
I'm advised within two minutes of its receipt, in at least my office, it was conveyed directly to parliamentary security. But the assurance I want to give is that, had it provided details that could have been acted on immediately, it would have been. But there, unfortunately, were no such details in that email.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALLEN (voice-over): Earlier the prime minister joined the mourners in her country, consoling those in grief, laying wreath at a mosque in Wellington. (END VIDEO CLIP)
ALLEN: The death toll now stands at 50. And 50 people were wounded; 34 are being treated at Christchurch Hospital, 12 of those in intensive care in critical condition. And another young girl is in critical condition at a hospital in Auckland. Some of the wounded have required multiple surgeries.
For more now from the scene in Christchurch, New Zealand, let's go back to CNN's Ivan Watson.
WATSON: Thank you, Natalie.
I am by the botanical gardens here and this has become a makeshift memorial. We have watched a constant stream of people coming here, laying bouquets of flowers, thousands of them.
Now as night has fallen, lighting candles as well. I can tell you, as a first-time visitor here, it is the children's messages of love and support for the victims of the most deadly terror attack in modern New Zealand history that really leave you with a lump in your throat after the atrocity that took place not far from where I'm standing just last Friday.
Now we now have the opportunity to speak with two residents of Christchurch who have come to also pay their respects.
Thank you for taking the time to speak with me and my condolences to you, Catherine Joans, and your daughter, Sarah.
I guess my first question, why did you decide to come down today as a family?
CATHERINE JOANS, CHRISTCHURCH RESIDENT: To pay our respects because people have lost their families. And as a family, we couldn't think of anything worse, basically. And it's not about us as a family; it's about all these people. So we're grieving for them. And that's really why we came.
It's just heartbreaking. It's absolutely heartbreaking. We never thought this would happen in New Zealand, let alone Christchurch. And it has just shaken us all to the core, really. And again, all I can say is it's heartbreaking.
WATSON: The messages that you see written here, they really are so touching. And they're so sincere.
C. JOANS: They are.
WATSON: Can you help, for our audience, explain -- there's a Maori expression that I see again and again written here, "Kia kaha."
What does that mean?
SARAH JOANS, WELLINGTON RESIDENT: Be strong, stay strong, stand together, be one. Make sure that, as a community, as people, we stay strong for each other, with each other and make sure that we share that message around. It became quite prevalent during the earthquakes. We've just got to stay strong --
S. JOANS: -- stand together.
WATSON: The community that was targeted here, two mosques, during Friday prayers, as people were quite literally kneeling in prayer. The Muslim community in New Zealand is tiny. It's only about 1 percent of your population.
S. JOANS: That's right.
WATSON: Do you have any idea where this kind of hatred could come from?
Is it something that you had any idea existed in your country?
S. JOANS: No.
C. JOANS: Not at all.
S. JOANS: Not at all.
C. JOANS: No.
S. JOANS: You never wake and up think something like this would happen on your own doorstep, let alone just down the road. It's not something you ever think you would have to deal with in New Zealand.
We're tucked away. We're away from all of this stuff. But, unfortunately, the reason we get it here today is because of something evil that has happened. We were safe.
C. JOANS: We were safe.
S. JOANS: But we're not now. But we need to come together and continue to show our love and support, like we are doing now. And, you know, we can't let this happen again. This shouldn't happen again. It shouldn't have happened to begin with.
WATSON: Based on what you've heard from your government, from police officials, do you believe that they can protect this community in the future?
C. JOANS: Yes.
S. JOANS: Yes.
C. JOANS: I don't doubt that. I don't doubt that. It saddens me that people criticize the rapidness of the response and I think that's unfair, because we were never expecting this to happen. We were talking to two police officers this evening. We were at Deans Edge --
WATSON: That's close to the Al Noor mosque where there were the most victims?
S. JOANS: That is correct.
C. JOANS: Yes. And they've banded together. They're both from Wellington and they've come down here to support their comrades in Christchurch. But I think the police force have done a phenomenal job at getting this under control so quickly. And they did do it very quickly.
WATSON: Your prime minister has called for swift change to your country's gun laws.
C. JOANS: Yes.
WATSON: Is that something that you support?
C. JOANS: Absolutely.
WATSON: Would you like to see it changed?
C. JOANS: Well and truly, definitely. I just think the accessibility of guns -- I mean, we did have very tight gun laws anyway. And as a member of the public, I don't know how he did what he did.
But -- and I can't comment on it because I don't know. I'd be speculating. But it just -- it does need to be tightened laws around guns and accessibility to them because they were with him. And this is proof of what they do when put in the wrong hands, really, yes.
WATSON: One of the other subjects that has come up in the wake of this act of terror is whether or not there is a growing threat of white supremacist terrorism, either in New Zealand or around the world.
What do you think of that?
Is that something you've ever had to think about before?
S. JOANS: No.
C. JOANS: No.
S. JOANS: It's not even -- I couldn't really comment on . You don't think of it. It's not something I think I've ever had to discuss until all of two days ago. It's not a sentence that I've ever had to form, to put into words, to try to comprehend, you know, that term, let alone have to now think about it going into the future.
So it's -- it's mindboggling to have to think that that's hopefully not going to become our normal. And we're going to have to, you know, worry about this, you know, in the coming days, weeks, months. So -- yes. It's a scary thought.
C. JOANS: Very scary, yes. Yes.
WATSON: There were children who were killed in this act of terror. Elderly. Fathers, a mother, at least one.
What is your message to their families during this dark hour?
C . JOANS: I don't know if any words that I can say will make them feel less pain than what they're feeling but just to remind them that we are all here. And we are grieving not only as a city but as a country. And no one deserved this. And kia kaha, just keep strong. And you are safe.
And hopefully, in the near future, we will be that safe haven that everybody wants to be in and know that they can worship in peace.
WATSON: Catherine and Sarah Joans, thank you very much for speaking to me and again, my condolences in the wake of this act of terror. Thank you very much.
So there you hear from a resident of Christchurch, her daughter who came down from Wellington and was here visiting when this city was attacked.
WATSON: Now to get a bit more of a sense of kind of the impact this might have or more of an international sense to this, I'm now going to speak with a guest on the line from Australia. This is Levi West, the director of terrorism studies at Charles Sturt University.
So Levi, one key question that comes to mind is what I just asked the Joanses here, about the threat of white nationalist terrorism.
In your opinion, is that a form of violence and ideology that is growing around the world?
Or is this a one-off?
LEVI WEST, CHARLES STURT UNIVERSITY: Very much the former. There's very little question that there's been a substantial rise across the Western world in far-right white supremacist, white nationalist extremism, particularly since the beginnings of the Trump campaign around 2014-15.
The statistics back that up. In 2018, the only people who died in the United States from terrorist attacks died at the hands of right-wing terrorists. In Europe, there has been consistent and sustained --
WEST: -- in Australia we've seen a rise, a substantial rise, in certainly right-wing extremism. And from an Australian perspective the perpetrator of the events in New Zealand was an Australian.
WATSON: What is driving this ideology?
WEST: The ideology itself has been around for a long time; underpinning white supremacist and white nationalist ideas essentially is fascism in varying forms. What the ideology does is, in much the same way that jihadist ideology does, it provides solutions for people who have grievances, legitimate or perceived grievances.
So if you feel that you're marginalized within society and somebody comes along and they can give you an ideological framework that identifies an outgroup, an other who you can blame as being responsible for all your problems -- in this case, the shooter in New Zealand, in his so-called manifesto, what he identifies as his reasoning, he's fearful of invasion.
He's fearful of his ingroup being overrun and being marginalized. Those ideas are much the same of what you find in the core ideas of fascism.
WATSON: Of course it doesn't match with facts on the ground here. The Muslim community in New Zealand only amounts to about 1 percent of the entire population of this country.
This idea of invasion, of white genocide, as if a community that is the majority is under threat here?
That just doesn't make sense.
WEST: I venture that same disconnect exists in most of the countries where this ideology is finding some traction. In the United States, you know, the hyperbolic way in which issues such as immigration are discussed by mainstream politics plays an enormous role in creating this sensibility amongst some people, a small minority, that what is happening is an invasion.
In Australia in particular, the discourse, the language that's used to discuss the politics of immigration, is toxic and borders on and is perpetually hyperbolic.
There are challenges Australia faces and the United States faces. We have movements of people, irregular movements of people all over the world. Europe faces it, so much of what's happened in Germany, with the large volume, the million or so refugees that were let in by Chancellor Merkel, these things present substantial challenges to society.
What happens when is politicians talk about these things in ways that make them seem existential creates an environment that allows people who feel marginalized to blame those minority communities and feel the political discussion is giving them a degree of endorsement.
That's not to suggest that the shooter in New Zealand -- the responsibility for what he did lies with the political class in the Western world. But it creates an environment where blaming or targeting minority groups becomes normal.
The mainstreaming of white supremacist and white nationalist language and talking points -- in Australia last year, we had an extensive discussion about the issue of persecuted South African farmers, which, as a talking point, comes out of white supremacist online discussion forums.
It made its way to the senior levels of government, where you had senior politicians discussing it. That process creates and environment where someone like this guy thinks that what he's doing has some permissibility or guidance (INAUDIBLE).
WATSON: Mr. West, you suggested that the rise of this white supremacist ideology has coincided --
WATSON: -- with the campaign of Donald Trump in 2015 and 2016. I think the Trump administration would challenge that assertion.
WEST: No doubt.
WATSON: Do you believe that there is any kind of overlap at all between -- and certainly President Trump himself has said that he thinks this is a small minority of very sick people that have done that.
Do you agree with him?
WEST: I'm not suggesting for a second that the campaign itself necessarily was working hand in glove with the emergence of white supremacy or the re-emergence of white supremacy and far-right extremism.
However, they have, in terms of timing, happened around the same time. You see the emergence of what becomes the alt-right in the United States which tacked onto the back of the Trump campaign. He exploits it and uses it and is happy to have some carriage with that.
Recently the far right in the United States has disavowed almost every single person who's ever run for president, has ever gotten involved in contemporary democratic policies in a meaningful way. However, what they saw was an opportunity to get themselves on the front page.
And that's worked incredibly well. And what you see is -- it's in the manifesto of the shooter from New Zealand. He viewed the president -- this is not something anyone can control -- but he viewed the president as a symbol of white identity renewal.
Now whether that's a circumstance that comes about by accident, happenstance, whether it's something that's exploited cynically by politicians, those types of coincidences and parallels are there right across the Western world. We see similar sorts of things with Marine Le Pen and the National Front in France, with the Alternative for Germany, we see similar things around Brexit and what's going on in United Kingdom, we've seen it in Australia, with parties like One Nation and the candidate, the senator, who, unfortunately, I think has made international news with his charming comments in response to what happened in New Zealand on Friday.
So this is not -- it's not solely a thing to do with the Trump campaign or the presidency but it's certainly something that's happened over this period of time that that campaign ran.
WATSON: And apparently we've seen it tragically here in New Zealand, where citizens believe that they were at a safe geographic distance from this kind of hate and violence.
Levi West, thank you for taking the time to speak with me and share your insight from Charles Sturt University in Canberra in Australia.
That will do it for me for now here in Christchurch, New Zealand. Back to you, Natalie, at CNN Center.
ALLEN: Two revealing interviews there, Ivan. We appreciate it, thank you. We will, of course, get more developments from Christchurch in just a moment.
Next here, a developing story out of France. Luxury boutiques, star- studded restaurants in Paris, ransacked, even set on fire. Saturday's violence during the latest Yellow Vest protest. We'll have that for you next here.
ALLEN: Welcome back.
We will return to New Zealand in a moment for more perspective and insights on the tragedy there. Right now other news we're following.
The Yellow Vest protests in Paris have turned violent once again.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALLEN (voice-over): As you can see, that's French police firing tear gas and they also used water cannon to disperse protesters, who shattered store windows and set fires. This is the 18th consecutive Saturday of demonstrations against president Emmanuel Macron and his policies; 60 people were slightly injured in the clashes, including 17 police officers and a fireman.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ALLEN: France 24 correspondent Catherine Norris-Trent has more from Paris.
CATHERINE NORRIS-TRENT, FRANCE 24 CORRESPONDENT: These were the most intense clashes between Yellow Vest protesters and police for several weeks. There were tense standoffs along the Champs-Elysees, a hard core of protesters encircled by riot police for several hours.
The air here was thick with tear gas fired at the protesters by security forces. It was also full of smoke, billowing from burning buildings and cars. Rioters had smashed and looted several shops and restaurants here.
On one building which they'd set on fire on the ground floor of a bank premises but upstairs there were still people living inside, those residents including an mother and a young baby had to be dramatically rescued by firefighters.
As of 7:00 pm Paris time, we were told 192 people were questioned by police; 106 of them taking into custody and 42 protesters were injured; 17 members of security forces and one firefighter as well.
It's been confirmed that French president Macron, the target of much of the protesters' anger, has cut short a skiing holiday in the southwest of France. He's returning to Paris in the wake of these clashes.
A little earlier on the scene, French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe had denounced the violence as unacceptable.
There had been a sense that the Yellow Vest protest movement had been dying down. We'd seen fewer protesters hitting the streets in recent weeks. But on this, the 18th weekend, these clashes show there is still an anger simmering in France -- Catherine Norris-Trent for CNN in Paris.
ALLEN: We turn to Spain, where thousands of people showed support for Catalan separatist leaders who are on trial. Huge crowds marched in Madrid Saturday; 12 Catalan leaders face years in prison for their role in organizing an independence referendum in 2017.
The Spanish government called the vote illegal but protesters say Spain is --
ALLEN: -- denying democracy by prosecuting the separatists.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AINA DOMENECH, STUDENT (through translator): There's people from all over Spain supporting our cause and it's very emotional to know we are not alone. To know that what we are seeing is not that weird. We just want freedom.
And I can be a pro-independence supporter or not. But Spanish justice is not being fair and that's what we are claiming today. To vote is not a crime.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ALLEN: There were also more protests in Venezuela this weekend. The political standoff between president Nicolas Maduro and opposition leader Juan Guaido continued Saturday, with supporters of both sides taking to the streets. Guaido led a rally in Northern Venezuela as he launched a nationwide tour to stir support. We go back to New Zealand in just a moment for the latest from there.
Earlier, members of the Black Power Gang performed an emotional haka, a traditional Maori dance, a tribute to the victims. More about it as we continue.
WATSON: Welcome back to special --
WATSON: -- coverage of the aftermath of the terror attacks in Christchurch, New Zealand. I'm Ivan Watson in Christchurch.
ALLEN: And I'm Natalie Allen at CNN Center in Atlanta. Here is the latest for you.
Authorities in New Zealand saying the first victims' bodies from Friday's mosque attacks will go back to their families in the coming hours. The prime minister said all should be returned by Wednesday and money would be available to help families cover funeral expenses, regardless of immigration status.
Two other points of interest: Prime Minister Ardern confirmed her office received a copy of the so-called manifesto nine minutes before the attacks started. She also said a second person is in custody but his arrest was tangential to the investigation and he is not believed to be involved in the attack.
As we continue to cover the investigation into the Christchurch attacks, we want to take a moment to remember the victims. We're starting to learn about them, the 50 murdered as they gathered for Friday prayers.
This is Naeem Rasheed. He was 50 years old. He had lived in New Zealand for seven years and had taught at a university. Both he and his 21-year-old son, Talha Rasheed, were killed in the attack.
Khalid Mustafa came to New Zealand last year as a refugee from Syria. He went to the mosque Friday with his two sons; one of them just underwent a six-hour operation in the hospital.
Also Haji Daoud Nabi was born in Afghanistan but moved to New Zealand many years ago, over 40 years ago, seeking asylum. He had five children, four sons and a daughter.
And, of course, we'll be learning more about the other victims who died in this horrific tragedy. Let's go back now to Ivan Watson. He has more perspective from Christchurch -- Ivan.
WATSON: Thank you very much, Natalie. The message that I hear again and again from New Zealanders is that
they believed, up until about 48 hours ago, that this kind of violence would never reach their distant shores. And they have tragically learned that nothing, nothing is truly local.
Not the hate-filled right-wing white nationalist supremacist ideology that seems to have inspired this deadly act of terror nor the people who have become victims here, who range from countries not only New Zealand but also Indonesia, Malaysia, Turkey, Bangladesh and Pakistan.
The Pakistani foreign minister saying that nine Pakistanis were killed in Friday's attacks. And the Pakistani prime minister saying that one Pakistani, Naeem Rasheed, would receive a national medal because he reportedly tried to confront and stop the attacker and lost his life in the process.
My colleague, Alexandra Field, has been talking to survivors of what has become the most deadly terror attack in New Zealand's modern history.
ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In the massacre at Linwood Mosque in Christchurch, where seven Muslims were killed, Ahmad Khan narrowly saved his own life.
AHMAD KHAN, EYEWITNESS: The guy shot at me but I dodged down so he missed me. And then I ran back to the mosque and told everyone to go to the ground because there's someone with a gun who's going to shoot everyone. And then everyone went to the ground and then he started shooting through the windows.
FIELD (voice-over): Inside Khan, found a friend bleeding.
KHAN: And I knew he was shot in the right arm. I went in there and held him and told him -- he was asking for some water. I said, calm down. The police are here now. And then the gunman came through the window again and shot him, when I was holding him, in the head. And he was dead.
FIELD (voice-over): Khan came to New Zealand 12 years ago, seeking safety, a refugee from Kabul, Afghanistan. His Afghan uncle, among those killed in the gunfire on New Zealand's darkest day at a second mosque just minutes away.
Khaled al-Shdokthi was inside Al Noor mosque when the bullets began flying there.
KHALED AL-SHDOKTHI, WITNESS: Some of my friends died, some of them this morning and one of my friends is still in the hospital because he was shot in his leg.
FIELD (voice-over): Al-Shdokthi, a PhD Candidate from Saudi Arabia, said he recently told his Saudi friends he thought New Zealand was the safest place on Earth. To him, it was.
AL-SHDOKTHI: I saw the bullets on the wall. The man came --
AL-SHDOKTHI: -- inside. And we couldn't do anything, just I looked, there I was, just sitting next to the window. I smashed the window and I escaped from the window and many people ran after me. And we went to the back yard.
FIELD (voice-over): Sue Harrison heard the shots ring out across the yard.
SUE HARRISON, WITNESS: I got in the stairwell and started hunkering down with panic feeling in our hearts, just describing the sound.
FIELD (voice-over): Finally, there was silence.
HARRISON: After the gunshots had stopped for a few minutes, we peeked out the window and we could see people in the back yard of the mosque, sort of milling around. And they were up front. They went. They weren't panicking. They were just sort of walking around. There was wailing going on.
FIELD (voice-over): Harrison hasn't been allowed back to the apartment. The area around the mosque is still a crime scene. It's where 41 people who couldn't get out died inside.
WATSON: One of the truly disturbing elements to this tragedy, this act of terror, is that the suspected terrorist tried to promote this and distribute the images of violence live on social media.
And I've learned here that students, teenagers who were under lockdown in Christchurch as the suspected gunman was driving around, shooting in the streets of this small city, that some of them were actually able to watch the images live on their phones from within their locked classrooms.
That has forced social media companies to scramble to try to clear these images from their platforms.
So here is a statement that was issued by Facebook earlier today saying, quote, "Out of respect for the people affected by this tragedy and the concern of local authorities, we're also removing all edited versions of the video that do not show graphic content."
That's quoting Mia Garlick of Facebook New Zealand; in a separate tweet saying that, in the first 24 hours after Friday's attacks, Facebook removed 1.5 million videos of the attack globally, giving you a sense of how much this virus, these images of violence and hatred, spread across the Internet so rapidly.
What we're seeing here in Christchurch is a very analog response to that, how ordinary people are writing messages by hand to challenge that virus of hatred and violence and spreading a message of love to their fellow citizens, people who were attacked and killed simply because of where they were worshipping and the religion that they believed in.
Now CNN's chief media correspondent, Brian Stelter, has been taking a closer look from New York at this phenomenon and the impact it's had on social media.
BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Hey, there, yes. The suspect used several Internet tools to draw attention to this attack. First and foremost among them was Facebook Live.
Facebook Live is a feature anybody on Facebook has. You click the button on your phone to go live. Then you can be live with your friends and potentially with the whole world.
In this case that is what the alleged attacker did. He press the button, he showed himself getting ready by preparing his weapons, then entering the mosque. Facebook says once it was contacted by New Zealand authorities soon after the shooting, it removed the suspect's Facebook account and his Instagram account.
But now there are questions about why Facebook didn't know this was happening in real time. Of course there are so many people going live at all times on Facebook. The company says it can't keep up, it doesn't have any ability to screen these events as they're happening.
But there are a lot of questions about why the company's algorithms, why its artificial intelligence technology can't do a better job of policing this, why it wasn't able to pick up on a mass shooting happening right there on Facebook Live.
Facebook not the only company coming under scrutiny, however. It appears that this suspect was using a number of other websites to connect with other people, connect with like-minded individuals and to share his manifesto.
He was posting links on these websites shortly before the massacre. He was able to stay in touch with people that way. And, of course, that's a broader problem that is really a societal issue, not just an issue for big technology companies.
For all the good the Internet's provided, for all the miracles it's created, there are also so many other ugly parts, so many dark corners of the World Wide Web, where individuals are able to gather, meet and share ideas, in some cases really hateful, horrific ideas.
If you think about it this way, in the past --
STELTER: -- organizations like the KKK would only meet in person. But now it's as if there's a KKK meeting happening all the time on the Internet. That is the reality that law enforcement and other organizations have to grapple with.
So in this particular case, the Facebooks of the world, the Googles of the world, they say they're trying to be good, corporate citizens, making sure these murder videos are taken offline as soon as they're posted.
But in this case, at least with New Zealand, it seems hundreds of thousands of people were able to see versions of this video, versions of this massacre streaming right on their phones and computers -- Brian Stelter, CNN, New York.
WATSON: This may be a new digital reality. But there is another reality that I'm seeing in front of my eyes here. Children have drawn pictures of hearts and written in crayon messages like, I love you and I miss you, to the families of the victims, the 50 people killed in these terrorist attacks on Friday -- Natalie.
ALLEN: Right. We see all of the stuffed animals and the flowers. And as you say the notes. That certainly shows you love conquers over hate for sure. Ivan, thank.
More news coming up here. A U.S. state suffers through the worst flooding in 50 years. We'll explain what caused the deluge and see if more extreme weather is on the way. We'll have the forecast after this.
ALLEN: The biggest storm to hit southeastern Africa in years has killed dozens. A tropical cyclone is barreling inland, bringing destruction to Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe, forcing thousands to evacuate as flooding, heavy rain and winds continue to batter that region.
Between a bomb cyclone that ripped through the area and melting snow --
ALLEN: -- already there, parts of the U.S. Midwest are now seriously flooded.
ALLEN: Tribute after tribute in New Zealand following the senseless massacre there. We will share some of what people are now leaving behind to remember those whose lives were lost right after this.
ALLEN: There are senseless killings due to shallow hate in the world. The world, the people, always respond with overwhelming gifts of love and support. And that's what we are seeing in New Zealand. So let's go back to our Ivan Watson, who is in Christchurch live for us. He's going to share some of that with you now.
Hello again, Ivan.
WATSON: Hi, Natalie. That's right. At this location, at other points around Christchurch, you see that people have been laying flowers in front of Christchurch Hospital, where victims of the attacks are fighting for their lives; near the Al Noor Mosque, for example, messages of love saying, "You should be safe in our country."
And it's clear that the attacks here in Christchurch on Friday and the victims that the attacks claimed, that that has resonated far beyond New Zealand's shores, as you'll see in this report.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ARDERN: So I convey that message of love and support on behalf of New Zealand to all of you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We still love this country. It's never, ever touched our confidence.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can't put into words how I'm feeling right now. Just sending my duas to the families.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WATSON: And we've certainly heard some singing here. And I've seen a lot of tears on this autumnal day in Christchurch as people have come through a constant procession, tears that I've shared as well, for what a local newspaper here described on its front page as innocence lost here in Christchurch, here in New Zealand -- Natalie.
ALLEN: It's been so touching, Ivan, to see people from all walks of life, no matter what, come to show their support.
What has been some of the reaction from the Muslim community over this there?
WATSON: Well, I've seen, for example, activists who have flown down from other parts of New Zealand, to come here to show solidarity. In one striking moment, a little bit humorous, from last night, it was in the predawn hours as we were broadcasting in front of Christchurch Hospital.
I saw a New Zealander, quite inebriated from the bar, stumbling home and walk up to a bearded Muslim man in long robes and just hug him out of the blue, which was -- it just gives you a sense that there is a genuine heartfelt sympathy coming from all different sides of society here.
Now one of the challenges that some Muslim community leaders have raised is that some of them say that they were warning about what they saw as a rise of Islamophobia, of rhetoric targeting Muslims in the years coming up to these terrible attacks.
And some of them saying that government officials didn't listen to their warnings. That is something that New Zealand will probably have to wrestle with.
That is also a message that is landing on the shores of other countries that have also been witness to acts of right-wing, white nationalist terrorism and violence. And hopefully something -- a lesson that people will take away from these tragic events here -- Natalie.
ALLEN: Right. One of the terrorism experts that you interviewed earlier talked about the fact that more and more people were seeing the rise of white nationalists around the world, something definitely that needs to be explored.
Thank you so much, Ivan Watson, for us there in Christchurch, New Zealand.
Thank you for watching. I'm Natalie Allen in Atlanta.