Hundreds of people formed a human chain around a mosque in New Zealand as a symbolic act of protection for the Muslim community one week after a gunman opened fire on two mosques.
The crowd linked arms outside of the Wellington Islamic Community, known locally as the Kilbirnie Mosque, during Friday’s call to prayer, CNN reported.
Hundreds of people locked arms, forming a human chain around a mosque in Wellington, New Zealand, symbolically shielding Muslims during Friday prayers, one week after 50 people were killed in Christchurch terror attack. https://t.co/pEY7pzN2sC pic.twitter.com/g22Zb7g1FV— ABC News (@ABC) March 22, 2019
#Wellington in solidarity in their hundreds at #kilbirnie #mosque as #NewZealand remembers the #ChristchurchMosqueAttack with a human chain around the entire block the mosque is in and two minutes of silence today #StrongerTogether #aroha pic.twitter.com/rz8yQmuuKn— Sue Teodoro (@SueTeodoro) March 22, 2019
Human chain surrounding the whole block around the Kilbirnie Mosque. Incredible display of unity for the Muslim community. pic.twitter.com/qnUOY5QJZe— Andy Burt (@AndyBurt2012) March 22, 2019
"The atmosphere was sad, quiet, but determined. Many women wore headscarves," Sue Teodoro, who was at the vigil, told CNN. "Many people cried openly. It was incredibly moving. People were determined that the community should pray without fear today."
Witnesses told the outlet that the chain was roughly half a mile long.
Witnesses said members of the Muslim community offered water and sunscreen.
"They thanked the people in the chain for their support, but also asked that the support happens every day," Andy Burt, who participated in the event, told CNN.
The act of solidarity comes one week after 50 people were killed during an attack on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand.
People across New Zealand heard the Muslim call to prayer at 1:30 p.m., which was followed by two minutes of silence.
The suspected shooter, who was arrested the day of the attack, reportedly posted a white supremacist and Islamophobic manifesto shortly before the assault.
New Zealand has banned semi-automatic weapons and assault rifles in response to the attack.