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New Zealand Mosque Attacks; Yellow Vest Protests; Interview with Mustenser Qamar, Imam, on Islamophobia; Guaido Encourages Supporters to Continue Taking to the Streets. Aired 5-6a ET

Aired March 17, 2019 - 05:00   ET




IVAN WATSON, CNN ANCHOR: Hello and welcome to our viewers all around the world, I'm Ivan Watson in Christchurch, New Zealand.

NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: Hello to you, Ivan, we will get back to you in a moment.

I'm Natalie Allen. Hello, everyone. Live from CNN Center in Atlanta, we appreciate you joining us this hour. We have the latest now on the New Zealand terror attack, developments for you within the next few hours.

We have been told bodies of the victims will start being returned to families. They hope to have all the remains turned over by Wednesday. In a news conference a short time ago, New Zealand's prime minister said a copy of that hate-filled manifesto was sent to her office just nine minutes before the rampage began.

Also, the country's cabinet will meet on Monday to discuss changes to the country's gun laws.


JACINDA ARDERN, NEW ZEALAND PRIME MINISTER: I've already said there will be gun law changes and there will be. The nature of those changes, I'm looking to move on as quickly as we can. But I do need to talk them through with cabinet and then we'll look to share them publicly as soon as we're able.


ALLEN: Earlier the prime minister joined mourners in Wellington, consoling those in grief and then laying a wreath at a mosque.

The death toll now stands at 50 with 50 others wounded; 34 are being treated at Christchurch Hospital, 12 of those in intensive care. They are in critical condition. Some of the wounded, as you might imagine, have required multiple surgeries.

As we continue to cover the investigation into the attack, we want to take a moment to remember the victims. We're starting to learn about them, their names and what they were doing, 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. The Pakistani prime minister Imran Khan tweeted that Rasheed's courage would be recognized with a national award for his trying to tackle the terrorists. Both Rasheed and his 21-year-old son, Talha, were killed.

Khaled 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 but the father was killed.

And this is Haji Daoud Nabi, born in Afghanistan but he moved to New Zealand more than 40 years ago seeking asylum. He had five children, four sons and a daughter. For more about the outpouring of love and support and, again, more exploration of what triggered this, let's go back to Ivan Watson live in Christchurch.

WATSON: Thank you, Natalie. I am by the gardens here in Christchurch, where an improvised memorial has sprung up since the most deadly terrorist attacks in New Zealand's modern history. The crowds now, shortly after 10:00 pm local time, have thinned out.

But all throughout the day there were hundreds of people at a time coming through here, quietly laying flowers and other tokens of support, messages like, "You should be safe in our country," "They are us," "We love you."

And the ones that truly put a lump in my heart are notes that are written by children in crayon, for example, saying "I miss you, I love you." This has profoundly shaken this small city, about 400,000 people, where a gunman rampaged in the streets and attacked two mosques on Friday until he was arrested by police.

They say some 36 minutes after they got the call but within that time the suspect was believed to have killed at least 50 people and wounded many, many more.

Now earlier in the afternoon I spoke with one family, Phil Temple --


WATSON: -- and his family. And they had come down here and were standing quietly with tears in their eyes. And I asked them why they decided to come to this location on this autumnal day.


PHIL TEMPLE, SUPPORTER: We felt the need to show respect to the people who lost their lives and share with the city how we feel. This is so tragic, so horrible. And I think it's been clear, the whole city wants to show (INAUDIBLE).

WATSON: You've brought your children today.

Is that important for you? DONNA MELESH (PH), SUPPORTER: Absolutely. The kids need to understand what's happening here. This isn't OK. It can't happen in the world. And it's just devastating that it's happened in our little corner of the world. But it's not OK. It's just not OK.

WATSON: You guys were probably in school on Friday here in Christchurch.


WATSON: And what were your teachers telling you?

N. TEMPLE (PH): Just that there had been a shootout at one of the mosques. And then we had to go into lockdown.

WATSON: Ariana (ph), what would you like to tell people around the world, in the wake of this tragedy?

ARIANA TEMPLE (PH), CHRISTCHURCH STUDENT: I think that it's a tragedy and it shouldn't have happened. And the Muslim community shouldn't have had this grief. It's just disappointing. And I just think that the Muslim community belong in New Zealand.

WATSON: I wonder if you could help me. I see many of the signs here say, "Kia kaha," which I assume is a Maori expression.

What does that mean?

P. TEMPLE: It means stand strong. And when you have people, when you say that to them, it shows you're with them, you're standing beside them.

WATSON: I've seen so many people walking up and down here, wiping tears from my own eyes, and they're crying, too. And you are. I just -- where do you move on from here, you think?

P. TEMPLE: I guess the messages that are about the love we have for each other and how we want to show that and I guess, with time, that will help people support the people that are grieving and have lost people and help them rebuild their lives.

And I hope we can, you know, follow through with what people are saying. (INAUDIBLE). I think it's always been a sense of pride that we've been around refugees from all over the world and so many of them have this hatred (INAUDIBLE). We want to rebuild, help them rebuild their lives.

WATSON: And also, all the more stunning, because officially, there are only about 1 percent of your country's population is, in fact, Muslim. So this is a tiny community.


WATSON: That felt the brunt, the brunt of this violence.

MELESH (PH): Yes. Yes. But that's still part of our community. Everyone is part of our community no matter (INAUDIBLE). I heard the other day that the percentage of people killed here is more per capita (INAUDIBLE) on 9/11 for America. It's a massive tragedy for us. It's terrible. It's a tragedy for the world.

WATSON: And the messages you're hearing from the authorities, from the police, from the prime minister in the wake of this attack, does it bring you confidence moving forward for safety in this community?

MELESH (PH): Yes. For me, especially. I have massive pride in how Jacinda has handled this.

WATSON: Jacinda Ardern --


MELESH (PH): Yes, she has been amazing. She's gone straight out to them and talked to them about the support she'll be giving them, that this doesn't define us as a country, that we are here for them. She's been incredible, you know.

She's talking about changing our gun laws and they're having a meeting tomorrow about that and I think every New Zealander will want those gun laws changed because this cannot happen in this paradise that we live in.

WATSON: Noah (ph), some of the victims were children.

N. TEMPLE (PH): Yes.

WATSON: Around your age.

N. TEMPLE (PH): Yes.

WATSON: Do you have any message for children, perhaps their siblings, their relatives after this?

N. TEMPLE (PH): Just the kids that died, they had so much more time to live and it's so sad that they just had to die so early, when they could have done amazing things later in life.

WATSON: OK. I want to thank you and your family for taking the time to talk with me and my condolences to your community for what's taken place. Thank you very much.

MELESH (PH): Thank you.



WATSON: That's an excerpt from one family that were here. It is impossible not to be moved in the presence of some of these messages that you see here.

And, of course, in addition to the loss of life, we have to remind viewers that there are still people fighting for their lives, still at least 13 people in intensive care at Christchurch Hospital, which is almost within sight of where I'm standing right now.

Now the authorities here in New Zealand have been taking to the airwaves, trying to reassure their populace about safety in the days ahead and particularly Monday, when routines will presumably try to go back to normal here in Christchurch in the wake of this atrocity. Take a listen.


COMMISSIONER MIKE BUSH, NEW ZEALAND POLICE: You will see a highly visible police presence on the streets, around your businesses, around your schools and even in the air, right across the country.

ARDERN: There are an additional 120 police staff in Christchurch. When it comes to mosques, during opening hours and while mosques are in active use, there will be a police presence outside. While they are closed, the public will remain in the vicinity. This will continue to be the case while the police investigation continues.


WATSON: Now to get some more perspective here, I'm joined now by Clarke Jones, a counterterrorism expert and senior research fellow at the Australian National University.

You're coming to us live from Canberra. Thank you very much, Mr. Jones. One Muslim community leader that I've spoken to here in New Zealand said that they tried to sound the alarm in past years about what they said was a rise in Islamophobic rhetoric in New Zealand and around the world and that those warnings fell on deaf ears.

Had you been documenting similar patterns in your studies?

CLARKE JONES, AUSTRALIAN NATIONAL UNIVERSITY: Yes, without a doubt. And I think some political leaders have got a lot to answer for. There's even one pm that almost endorsed the attacks, a Queensland parliamentarian.

So there has been a rise of very conservative politics starting from the top when there's been any sort of attack on -- in Australia, for example, any sort of attack, any criticism of Australians and the Australian way of life. They've come down very heavily on those people.

So there's -- and that's been mainly directed at the Muslim population but also they've tried to criminalize refugees, the way they've treated refugees, immigrants in Australia. This has happened for a long time. This has been a growing problem and ever since 9/11, when there is a very small few terrorist criminals that have caused these attacks.

That seems to have reflected on the whole Muslim population. So this rhetoric, this negative rhetoric around Muslims, around immigrants, have really fueled the fire and almost motivated some of these -- I will use the term "crazy" -- I know they were fully calculated in what they did -- but these people to carry out these atrocities. Why New Zealand?

That's another question.

WATSON: Then I want to pose that to you.

Why do you think that an Australian suspect, without any prior criminal record in Australia or New Zealand, decided to carry out this alleged attack here in New Zealand, far from his own homeland, in a country that only has 1 percent of the population that is Muslim?

JONES: I think you can really see, I suppose, New Zealand as a softer target. I mean, we have to remember this was carefully planned; it's almost two years in the planning. If you compare it to other countries, Australia, there have been a lot of resources, millions of dollars put into the hard edge of countering terrorism.

So there's the police presence, the number of people working in counterterrorism. Yes, New Zealand has been doing the same; I was involved in counterterrorism exercises some probably 10 years ago now. So I know there's been those arrangements in place in New Zealand but not to the same extent as Australia.

So maybe they saw New Zealand as a soft target, where they could get that sort of recognition for their cause. Now we know that social media has played a large role in this but also the media now are reporting the events. They've got their message across and it's got across quickly. There's even a Sky News --


JONES: -- here in Australia that kept on replaying the tapes made by this perpetrator. So you can see why it could be any corner of the Earth. But it gets around the world very quickly. Their message got out very, very quickly, as sad as that is.

WATSON: Yes. The use of social media a major, major factor here. So much attention since the 9/11 attacks in the U.S., when it comes to counter counterterrorism, has been on Islamist, fundamentalist, jihadi acts of political violence.

Is this a wakeup call to governments' intelligence agencies to look at white nationalist, supremacist acts of violence and terror?

JONES: Look, certainly. And we've been calling on the government to pay more attention to this side. But you've got to remember we don't drop tools on the other side just to carry in and focus here now. It's got to be a very balanced perspective. We shouldn't vilify one particular community because of who has carried out the act.

We need to look at terrorism far more holistically, looking at both sides, looking at the reasons, looking at the causes that, of course, where it comes into my territory is, what do we do about these people?

Can we rehabilitate them?

Should we rehabilitate them?

What are the next steps?

WATSON: All right. Clark Jones from Australian National University, live from Canberra, thank you very much for your insight and perspective there.

Now we've had a chance to talk to some of the survivors of the two attacks that took place here in Christchurch. It was two mosques, the Linwood Mosque and the Al Noor Mosque, where authorities have been working frankly throughout the weekend to try to identify the victims of this massacre.

We've also heard from one man, who says that he tried to confront the attacker as he was carrying out his acts of violence. Take a listen.


ABDUL AZIZ WAHABZADAH, SURVIVOR: Screaming to the guy, "Come here, I'm here."

I just wanted to put more focus on me (INAUDIBLE) but, unfortunately, he just got himself to the Muslims. Then I see a lot more shooting (INAUDIBLE) and I see he's shooting inside the mosque.

(INAUDIBLE) and he dropped his gun and because I had this other gun on me as well and he just ran. Because as -- I think so he had more gun on this guy, tried to get more gun from (INAUDIBLE) and he see me chasing with a gun, (INAUDIBLE). And I just got that gun (INAUDIBLE) through his window like an arrow and blast his window.

And he thought I probably (INAUDIBLE) something and (INAUDIBLE) come back and he just drove off and I keep chasing him. And he was at the traffic light but the traffic light was still red but he just managed to do a I-turn and take off.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So when you threw the gun at the windshield, it shattered?

WAHABZADAH: Yes, it shattered out his window. That's why he got scared. That's why after that he run away. Then I come inside the mosque to see what's happening and I see a lot of -- I'm so sorry --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So he did come inside the mosque?

WAHABZADAH: Because what's happened, I didn't know it was inside the mosque or not because I wasn't at the time (INAUDIBLE) car park. I was yelling at him but I could see he was kept shooting at the people inside the mosque (INAUDIBLE). Then when I come inside (INAUDIBLE).


WATSON: Now video that was livestreamed by the suspect showed that, as he approached the Al Noor Mosque here in Christchurch, he was initially greeted by one of the worshippers, who said, "Hello, brother." It's hard to stress enough about the shear psychological damage that

this has caused to people who were in the vicinity, as we've heard from one survivor, take a listen.


FARHAAN FARHEEZ, SURVIVOR: I just kind of stopped thinking about it, getting those flashbacks. And it's one of those experiences which I wish no one ever encounters. It's just catastrophic and it's just --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have you been to a funeral this morning?

FARHEEZ: Yes, I have.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And whose funeral was that?

FARHEEZ: So just some close friends and family friends that passed away, deceased. And it was even difficult to even go for the funeral. There was still speculations that we were thinking that, maybe, you know, someone is watching us, someone will shoot all of us at a funeral just because we're Muslims.



WATSON: The psychological trauma here is something that this community will be wrestling with for some time to come. The government has promised to provide mental health experts to help people through this process. But we're just at the tip of the iceberg and in the very beginning of that stage in the aftermath of these terror attacks.

Back to you, Natalie, at CNN Center.

ALLEN: All right, Ivan, thank you so much. We certainly can get a sense of what people are dealing with, the depth of their despair, from your interviews. We really appreciate it. We will see you again.

Still ahead here, a significant development in the investigation into the crash of Ethiopian Airlines flight 302. We will tell you about that.

Plus we will go back to New Zealand, a country in shock and mourning. Earlier, members of what's called the Black Power Gang performed an emotional haka. That's a traditional Maori dance. It was in tribute to the victims.




ALLEN: More news now from CNN NEWSROOM for you. Former Vice President Joe Biden is not currently running for president

-- or is he?


JOE BIDEN, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm told you get criticized by the new Left. I have the most progressive record of anybody running for the -- anybody who would run.


BIDEN: I didn't mean --


BIDEN: -- of anybody who would run.


ALLEN: Well, his supporters seemed to think he made a Freudian, calculated slip there. If their dreams came true and Mr. Biden announced a campaign, he would be joining a crowded field. Take a look at that. More than 1 dozen Democrats are running now in the 2020 presidential election so far. And here are some of the best known.

We turn now to France, where the so-called Yellow Vest protests in Paris have turned violent once again.



ALLEN (voice-over): French police fired tear gas and used water cannon to disperse protesters, who shattered store windows and set a newspaper stand on fire. This the 18th consecutive Saturday of demonstrations against president Emmanuel Macron and his policies.


ALLEN: Now to Spain, where thousands of people are showing support for Catalan separatist leaders on trial there. Huge crowds marched in Madrid Saturday; 12 Catalan leaders are facing years in prison for their role in organizing an independence referendum in 2017.

The Spanish government called that vote illegal. But protesters say Spain is denying democracy by prosecuting the separatists.


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.


ALLEN: Now to the crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302. Data from the cockpit voice recorder was successfully downloaded at a facility near Paris; assessing the flight recorder data is still ongoing. Airline officials -- both the Ethiopian government and airline officials say DNA testing to identify the victims may take up to six months.

Passengers on the flight came from more than 30 countries. "The New York Times" reports the pilot experienced problems with the Boeing 737 MAX 8 almost immediately after takeoff.

According to the newspaper, air traffic controllers detected the plane pitching wildly up and down and accelerating to an abnormal speed. Victims of the air crash are being remembered at a memorial in the capital, Addis Ababa. Two fathers spoke about the pain of losing their grown daughters, both of whom were pursuing promising careers.


ACHIENG ODERO, FATHER OF CRASH VICTIM: I lost my daughter in that crash. (INAUDIBLE) she would have (ph) -- was working with Care International as a security officer and she had been to Khartoum for the last two weeks. So on this particular day, she was on her journey back to Kenya via Addis Ababa.

BENSON BIRUNDU, FATHER OF CRASH VICTIM: She was on her way back here to say (INAUDIBLE) to us, then she was going to pursue her PhD in the same line of this career. We are deeply lost (INAUDIBLE).


ALLEN: So many promising lives cut short from that terrible airplane crash, which continues to be investigated.

When we come back, we will look at another story, of course, we're following in New Zealand. So many lives cut short there as well after a senseless tragedy. Our Ivan Watson will have more insights into what people are dealing with there -- when we come back.





WATSON: Special coverage of the aftermath of the terrorist attacks in Christchurch, New Zealand. I'm Ivan Watson in Christchurch.

ALLEN: Hello, to you, Ivan.

I'm Natalie Allen from CNN Center in Atlanta, we thank you for joining us.

The latest now on those terror attacks for you across New Zealand, memorials are becoming gathering places as people try to come to grips with what happened, Friday's deadly rampage that made absolutely no sense. Prime minister Jacinda Ardern joined mourners in Wellington, consoling those in grief. And then she laid a wreath at a mosque.

In the next few hours, bodies of the victims will start being returned to the families. Officials hope to have all of the bodies returned by Wednesday. The country's cabinet will meet on Monday and discuss possible changes to the country's gun laws.

The death toll now stands at 50 and 50 others remain wounded. Let's go now back to Ivan Watson, he's live in Christchurch, New Zealand, with more about what people are dealing with there -- Ivan.

WATSON: Thank you, Natalie.

It is well after 10 o'clock at night here so the crowds that have been walking through past this improvised memorial site in Christchurch near the botanical gardens, they have now thinned out, leaving behind truly heartfelt messages of love and support for members, for worshippers from the two mosques that were attacked by a terrorist on Friday, who claimed the lives of 50 innocent people and wounded many more, some of whom are fighting for their lives in Christchurch Hospital right now, not far from where I'm standing.

Now to get more of a sense of what this means and what kind of an impact this has had on a community that just really makes up a tiny part of the demographic here in New Zealand, I'm now joined by Mustenser Qamar from Wellington in New Zealand, who is from the Ahmadiyya Muslim community.

Thank you for taking the time to speak with me and my condolences to you.

I guess first and foremost, what kind of steps is your community doing to help families here in Christchurch?

Because I have seen people pouring in from other parts of New Zealand in this time of grief.

MUSTENSER QAMAR, AHMADIYYA MUSLIM COMMUNITY: Peace and blessings be upon you. Yes, our communities are across the world because we are an international community, we have had people donating as well to help the grieving families, the victims of this horrible attack.

Obviously our sentiments and prayers are with them as well. We've tried to get in contact with them. We're just helping in whatever way possible.


QAMAR: Obviously this is an attack on the whole Muslim community and obviously every Muslim across the country has either directly or indirectly been affected by this. WATSON: Sir, in other countries there are rippling sectarian tensions, Islamophobic rhetoric, that is very prevalent.

How would you describe the relationship between different communities here in New Zealand?

Was this a threat?

Was this a concern for you?

QAMAR: It definitely is a concern for us as well because this was an attack on Muslims in general and obviously we also have the largest mosque in New Zealand, which is in Auckland, and the police have also been there, the police have been there, they've been providing security as well.

Until now our mosque is still closed. So this is a very difficult time for every Muslim across the country. But we've been trying to address it in our own way. And even in the past, we've experienced hate on social media, over the phone as well, people hurling abuse at us over the phone and on social media.

And every now and then, when we do hold an event, we do have someone hostile coming. We've never had any big issues when it comes to events in public, even last year, when we held an exhibition in Christchurch. We didn't really have any issues, though, we thought that, because of the response on social media, we might.

It's worrying that this has happened and it also shows the effects of what's going on around the world even reach isolated places like New Zealand through what happens in the media and through Internet and stuff like that.

WATSON: Can I ask you this, every time, as a reporter, that we hear about an act of violence somewhere around the world, a massacre, an attack by a gunman, my Muslim friends say that they cringe initially, worried that the suspect could end up having a Muslim name and that Islam and Muslims around the world could be associated with an act of violence.

The key suspect here is an Australian, who was a self-professed white supremacist.

Is this a wakeup call for other communities around the world that tended to look towards Muslims and accuse and generalize about who the perpetrators of extremism and terrorism are?

QAMAR: Definitely. I agree that it definitely is because terrorism has no religion. There's extremists in every single faith. And even to this day there are extremists in every single faith. Being an imam, having studied Islam in detail, I know that these extremists do not represent the true teachings of Islam.

That's why we've been running the True Islam campaign in New Zealand and across the world. In fact, the caliph for our community, His Holiness, just in the press release following this attack in New Zealand, he actually said, and I quote, "This tragic event should serve as a lesson and a warning to other countries of the developed world that we must join together to tackle all forms of racial, ethnic and religious hatred with wisdom and with a firm hand."

So I mean, as Muslims, we are, through our outreach programs, like the True Islam campaign as well, we are trying to highlight the Islamic extremism is completely contrary to the Islamic teachings.

We have had outreach programs going in New Zealand for a long time, including Reach Muslim campaign, coffee cake and True Islam. We've had Quran exhibitions, peace conferences. Our Muslim youth even go out and actually practically show the true teachings of Islam by going, for example, cleaning up the streets, giving blood and many different things going on across New Zealand.

So we're practically trying to also change that narrative, which is understood about Islam as well. But also this clearly shows that there is the other end of the spectrum as well, where there's white supremacy, far right movements as well, who are spewing hate. And that hate is leading to violence as well.

WATSON: Can I ask one last question, sir?

Briefly, mosques were closed across the country as a precaution on Saturday; they're reopened.

What kind of message will be preached in sermons to worshippers, to reassure them after the attacks here in Christchurch on Friday?

QAMAR: First of all, our mosque as well, the national president was contacted by the police. I mentioned that we have the largest mosque --


QAMAR: -- in New Zealand as well. Currently it's not opened yet but -- so I'm not sure about the details regarding that because we've been told that it still isn't open yet but possibly tomorrow evening prayers will be open.

But especially -- I mean we've been informing our members, first of all, to be more vigilant. There's obviously going to be a new normal in New Zealand because it's still a peaceful country and the support we've been given from people across New Zealand is very reassuring as well.

But we are going to have to be more vigilant and work on our security as well and the well-being of our members. But in terms of the message we have given to our members is to pray.

We are obviously people of faith, we pray and turn to God in difficult circumstances as well. So everyone to pray and also to actively try and change that narrative by actually going out there and taking part in outreach programs as well.

WATSON: All right. Mustenser Qamar, thank you very much for taking the time to speak with me and, again, my condolences in the wake of these deadly acts of violence.

Now my colleague, Alexandra Field, has been here in Christchurch and she's had the opportunity to speak with some of the survivors of the attacks on the two mosques here. We show you this report.


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 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: As a first-time visitor to this small city, it is hard to imagine a gunman blasting away down these leafy, relatively quiet streets. But that is exactly what happened. On top of that he broadcast himself during the first deadly bloody minute in a live stream on Facebook Live.

Those images have spread across the world. And some of the kids, some of the teenagers who were under lockdown here in schools as he rampaged watched those images live on their phones while fearing for their lives.

That's put pressure on Internet sites, on social media sites, to try to clean up these truly disturbing images.

This statement has come out from Facebook in the past couple hours, saying, quote, "Out of respect for the people affected by this tragedy, the concerns of local authorities, we're also removing all edited versions of the video that did not show graphic content." That's Mia Garlick of Facebook New Zealand, who went on to tweet that in the first --


WATSON: -- 24 hours after the attack, Facebook removed some 1.5 million -- million copies of the video of the attack globally, giving you a sense of how widespread this virus of violence spread across the world.

Here we are seeing an analog response to this, in these dark hours of the night, candles glowing and messages of love to challenge that digital message of hate.

Natalie, back to you at CNN Center.

ALLEN: Yes, the streaming part of this story is a major, major part of it and something that must be explored. Ivan, again, thank you for your reporting. Thank you for that interview you just carried out as well.

Ahead here, we will look at other news from around the world. Venezuela's political crisis, it grinds on. Protesters yet again take to the streets as the opposition announces a new campaign to try to remove the sitting president.



ALLEN: Protesters have rallied again in Venezuela this weekend as the political standoff there drags on. CNN's Paula Newton has more for us. She's in Caracas.


PAULA NEWTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It was another day of rival protests and rallies throughout Venezuela. We are here at an opposition rally but Juan Guaido, the opposition leader, is not here, he went to Valencia, saying it was important for him to continue the momentum of his opposition movement, not just here in Caracas but really throughout the country. He certainly started the day --


NEWTON: -- in a church but also went on to a market, continuing to tell his supporters that they would prevail.

This is despite the fact that president Nicolas Maduro is feeling more confident these days; power has been restored, there is still a lot of adversity in this country. But president Maduro took the day to really, he said, oversee some military exercises and there was also an impressive rally in Caracas. It really drew thousands of people, more numbers than we have seen in a long time.

Again, those people denouncing the United States and insinuating that it was the United States that sabotaged the electricity system and were responsible for crippling this country over the last few days.

This leaves the international community in a really tense moment here. Elliott Abrams, the U.S. representative for Venezuela, said himself, look, there is no way to tell how long president Maduro will last in this country. He was very blunt, saying we have not been good at guessing that before and he said that even the United States at this point is saying, look, we want a peaceful transition here.

So that means that these rallies will continue likely for weeks to come -- Paula Newton, CNN, Caracas.


ALLEN: The victims of the Christchurch shooting are being remembered. Still ahead here, the world comes together with moving tributes for a nation in grief and we will share that with you as we continue.





ALLEN: All across the world people are coming together to remember the victims of Friday's attack in New Zealand. Here are some of their tributes.


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.


ALLEN: And here is a live scene of those who are continuing to bring flowers, gifts, candles, stuffed animals, anything they can do to help comfort those who have lost so much.

Thank you for watching this hour. I'm Natalie Allen in Atlanta. "NEW DAY" is next.