The white supremacist suspected of killing 49 people at two mosques in Christchurch flashed a “white power” symbol as he appeared in court charged with murder.
Led in handcuffed, wearing a white police-issue tunic and with noticeable bruising on his upper lip, Brenton Tarrant, 28, stood in Christchurch district court as a formal charge of murder was read.
The judge, Paul Kellar, said it was “reasonable to assume” that Tarrant, a short, broad-shouldered man, would face further murder charges. Mr Kellar allowed photographs to be taken inside court on the condition that Tarrant’s features were obscured. However, that allowed the accused to present to the cameras a form of the “OK” hand signal that has been associated with white supremacists.
Leading members of America’s alt-right movement have published photographs of themselves using the symbol for at least three years.
Tarrant was silent throughout the proceedings and looked several times at a small team of journalists who were allowed in. He has been remanded in custody without plea until April 5 at 9.15am. Police were forced to clear Christchurch’s central precinct of crowds who had gathered a day after the massacre, waiting for Tarrant’s arraignment. Some had lost relatives and friends. Armed police patrolled the building as a police helicopter circled overhead.
One member of the public, who was denied entry to the court, told local media that he wanted to get in and “knife” the accused, reportedly showing a weapon he had brought.
As Tarrant was taken into custody, police in Dunedin, a city 220 miles down the coast, sent a bomb-disposal robot into the house where he is believed to have planned the attack.
Source: The Times