Tonga Parliament holds minute’s silence for Christchurch racist murder victims

The Members of Parliament in Tonga took part in a one minute silence on Monday morning to pay respects and supports for the victims of Christchurch’s terror attack.

Acting Speaker Lord Tu’ilakepa opened proceedings and orchestrated the silence.

He said the minute was in respect for the memory of those killed and hurt in the attack on Friday, which left 50 dead and at least 50 injured

Lord Tu’ilakepa said in Tongan: “Oku ou fie ‘oatu ‘a e fie kaungā mamahi ‘a e Fale Alea ‘o Tongá mo e kakai ‘o Nu’usilá, ‘oku ‘oatu heni ha faka’apa’apa, mo e fiekaungā mamahi mo’oni ‘a e Fale Alea ‘o Tonga, mo e kakai ‘o Nu’usila koe’uhi ko e pulonga kuo tō he fonuá, tupu mei he fakapō ta’e’amanekina, ne hoko ‘i Christchurch, ‘i he ‘aho Falaite 15 ‘o Mā’asi, 2019.”

Meanwhile, New Zealand Police Commissioner said this morning in a live-streamed press conference that Police were working relentlessly to complete formal identifications of the victims.

“Today as part of my regular updates I want to talk to the process of returning the victim’s bodies to their loved ones,” Bush said.

His statement is published verbatim below:

Specifically I want to talk about the process of identifying and returning victims’ bodies to their loved ones.

Firstly I expect to be able to return the majority of the bodies to the families by this evening.

As of last night 21 victims have been identified and are available for release to their families.

We expect 27 to have been identified by midday

It was our intention to have this process complete by Wednesday, but some the bodies will take longer to identify.

Victims of are our priority but we also have important obligations.

We must work on behalf of the Coroner to ensure we have the correct identification.

It would be unforgivable to return the wrong body to a family.

Secondly correct identification is required as part of the investigation and is necessary to prove a charge of murder.

I want to again reassure you that we are working relentlessly, doing everything in our power to complete the formal identification processes as quickly as possible.

I have over 100 specialists and experts including Police, DVI, NZDF pathologists, odonatologists and overseas assistance.

Additionally we have excellent support from Coroners, nationally.

Finally I want to clarify one thing around the time it took to apprehend the offender.

I have previously said the offender was in our custody within 36 minutes.

I have now been made aware that, while we had the offender in custody at the Justice Precinct within 36 minutes, it in fact only took 21 minutes from the first 111 call for the offender to be apprehended at the roadside by the two officers.

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