Austrian far right activist donation could be linked to Christchurch terrorist

Austrian authorities have searched the home of a far right activist, saying he received a “disproportionately high donation” from a person with the same surname as the accused Christchurch shooter

Stuff (22 March):  Austria says Christchurch mosque shooting suspect visited there

Authorities in Austria say the alleged Christchurch mosque gunman visited the country, but are declining to provide further details.

Interior Ministry spokesman Christoph Poelzl said an investigation by the BVT domestic intelligence agency is continuing, but “a first result from this is that it can now be confirmed the person in question spent time in Austria.”

Some of the suspect’s anti-Muslim views are echoed by Austria’s far-right Identitarian Movement.

Stuff (27 March):  Austrian activist’s home searched over ‘ties’ to Christchurch mosque shooting suspect

Austrian authorities have searched the home of a prominent far-right activist as part of a probe into his ties to the alleged Christchurch mosque gunman.

The head of the white nationalist group Identitarian Movement of Austria said on social media that police searched his apartment on Monday.

Electronic devices were seized after he received a “disproportionately high donation” from a person with the same surname as the accused Christchurch shooter.

Christoph Poelzl, spokesman for Austria’s Interior Ministry, confirmed Tuesday that the country’s domestic intelligence agency BVT searched the premises in Vienna at the request of prosecutors in the city of Graz.

“Any connection between the Christchurch attacker and members of the Identitarians in Austria needs to be comprehensively and ruthlessly investigated,” Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz tweeted, adding that he had spoken to Justice Minister Josef Moser about the issue.

“It is important that the independent justice system can use all necessary means and resources to conduct its investigation together with the security services and expose these networks. There needs to be total clarity about all extremist activities.”

Hansjoerg Bacher, a spokesman for Graz prosecutors, said they had stumbled across the donation as part of an existing probe into possible financial offences by the Austrian nationalist.

“The purpose of the investigation is to examine links between [the nationalist] and the Christchurch attacker,” Bacher told Associated Press.

He declined to confirm when the donation took place, but said it was much higher than other contributions made to the man or his Identitarian Movement.

“Most donations were in the area of two-to-three figures, whereas this donation was in the low four-figure area,” Bacher told AP. “This made it stand out, and the events in New Zealand put a face to this donation.”

“We need to determine whether there is a connection and if so, whether it’s criminally significant,” said Bacher.

The Austrian man denied having anything to do with the March 15 massacre, in which 50 Muslims were killed.

“I had nothing to do with the attack,” he said in a video statement posted on YouTube, adding that he would donate the money to a charity.

It could just be an awkward link to the Christchurch terrorist.

Graz is the second largest city in Austria.


National Remembrance Service to be held on Friday

We have had a lot of vigils, services and other events following the Christchurch mosque killings in places all over New Zealand. There is more to come.

A National Remembrance Service is being planned for this Friday, 29 March, in Christchurch. It is likely to be broadcast around the country. This was earlier promised by Ardern.

It is worthwhile having it, but there may be some fatigue of all the events and coverage. And there is growing resentment by some at aspects of all of this, showing that intolerance and a determination to dump on things they don’t like or disagree with is ingrained in some people – in particular there have been attacks on Muslims, prayers, and there seems to have been increased vitriol aimed at Jacinda Ardern.

National Remembrance Service following Christchurch terrorist attack

A National Remembrance Service for the victims of the Christchurch mosques terrorist attack, and all those affected by it, will be held at 10am on Friday 29 March, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced today.

The service will be held in Christchurch in Hagley Park and will be jointly led by the Government of New Zealand, the city of Christchurch, Ngāi Tahu and the Muslim community.

Considerations are being given to simultaneously broadcasting the service to events in Auckland, Wellington and Dunedin and providing links for events in other towns and cities.

“The National Remembrance Service provides an opportunity for Cantabrians, New Zealanders and people all around the world to come together as one to honour the victims of the terrorist attack,” Jacinda Ardern said.

“In the week since the unprecedented terror attack there has been an outpouring of grief and love in our country. The service will be a chance to once again show that New Zealanders are compassionate, inclusive and diverse, and that we will protect those values.

“The terrorist attack has been significant for many countries. We anticipate international guests and visitors will want to attend and to join us in our sorrow and support for the victims and their families,” Jacinda Ardern said.

Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel says this will be a time for everyone, locally, nationally and internationally, to come together in unity.

“I am very proud of the way our city and nation have responded to this terrorist attack.  What happened on Friday, March 15, 2019 will never define us. It is what has happened since, the love and compassion, that’s what defines us. Coming together on Friday will demonstrate support for all our communities, no matter where we were born, no matter where and how we choose to express our faith. We do not stand alone, we stand together.

“We will not be divided by hatred, we will be united by love,” says Mayor Dalziel.

The details of the service, including exact location, broadcast arrangements and order of service will be announced later in the week.