Six weeks after the Christchurch mosque attacks, New Zealand’s deputy prime minister paid his respects on Wednesday (Apr 24) to the victims of Norway’s 2011 attacks by Anders Behring Breivik, from whom the mosque attacker claimed inspiration.
Australian white supremacist Brenton Tarrant, who gunned down 50 people at two Christchurch mosques on Mar 15, claimed in his manifesto that he “took true inspiration from Knight Justiciar Breivik”, who killed 77 people in twin attacks on Jul 22, 2011.
Winston Peters, who also serves as New Zealand’s foreign minister, placed a wreath of flowers at the foot of the Oslo memorial, located near the government offices.
It was near this site where the Norwegian right-wing extremist first set off a van bomb that killed eight people, before opening fire on a Labour youth camp on the island of Utoya that killed another 69.
Interviewed on Norwegian television, Peters downplayed the similarities between the Norway and New Zealand attacks.
“We don’t want to be premature in coming to findings, but if you look at some of his (Tarrant’s) dialogues in his manifesto, he seemed to be … contaminated … by many sources,” Peters said.
Peters was accompanied at the memorial by Lisbeth Kristine Royneland, the head of a support group for families of the victims, and Vanessa Svebakk, a dual citizen from Norway and New Zealand, who each lost a daughter in the Utoya attack.
Brievik, who is now 40 and goes by the name Fjotolf Hansen, is serving a 21-year prison sentence that can be extended as long as he is considered a threat to society.
Meanwhile Tarrant, 28, has been charged with 50 counts of murder and 39 counts of attempted murder.