Trinity students have joined a vigil this evening in remembrance of the victims of the recent terrorist attack in Christchurch, New Zealand. The attack saw 49 people killed while praying at two mosques in the city, with a further 20 people injured. Around 100 people gathered outside the GPO at 6pm this evening to attend the vigil.
The vigil was organised by the United Against Racism group, in solidarity against what they called “the horrific news of a white supremacist terrorist attack”. They added that they will “gather in mourning, outrage and solidarity with victims, their families, wider and local Muslim communities”.
Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) Ethnic Minorities Officer Navika Mehta spoke to Trinity News about the importance of the vigil. She noted that “the attack in Christchurch is clearly racially motivated”, and that “racist incidents must not be ignored”. She called on society to “take action to ensure the safety of all those amongst us [sic]”.
According to Mehta ” a vigil is a way to express our solidarity with the victims who were attacked for being Muslims and immigrants. That said, racism only escalates and racist discourse in universities needs to be tackled with utmost seriousness”.
Trinity student Conchúir Ó’Ráidigh noted “the importance of showing solidarity with the Muslim community and the migrant community here in Ireland and internationally”. He noted the importance of support and solidarity in opposition to far right politics, and said that “this kind of racism stems from a kind permissive environment”. He also pointed out that “Ireland isn’t immune from the global trend of the rise in racism, and the far right”.
The terrorist attack was carried out by 28 year old Australian citizen Brenton Harrison Tarrant, and he has subsequently been charged with murder. Following the attack on two mosques in the city, authorities found an 87 page manifesto with anti-immigrant, anti-muslim ideas.
The massacre was streamed online, and saw the anti-immigrant manifesto published prior to it. The New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern noted that the terrorists had “extremist views”, which did not fit within the country or the wider world. She also condemned the attack on one of New Zealand’s “darkest days”.