Hundreds of people gathered in the New Zealand zoo in Wellington on Thursday evening to pay tribute to the victims of the terror attacks in Paris, the latest in a string of attacks on French nationals around the world.
The rally was held in the capital city’s Rose Garden, the home of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who was due to arrive for a state visit to Israel later in the day.
The crowd sang “Pray For The People of Jerusalem”, as a message of solidarity was read out in Arabic, in a reference to the French city.
It was the second such rally in New Zealand in the past two days.
On Monday, a small group of around 100 people gathered at Wellington Zoo in an attempt to call for an end to the “mass murder of innocents” in Paris.
It is understood that most of the attendees were from overseas, but the event was also attended by a number of New Zealanders, including a former Prime Minister, Sir John Key.
A number of people were arrested for “incitement”, the state’s term for what could be seen as anti-Semitic behaviour.
Police said at least eight people were detained at the event, which was organized by the New York-based New Zealand Palestine Solidarity Network (NzSN), the country’s largest anti-Israel organisation.
The group said the rally was organized with the support of the New Zealander Jewish Community, which is based in the country.
“It is with a heavy heart that we condemn the cowardly act of terror against innocent civilians and innocent Israeli citizens on Wednesday morning in Paris,” the group said in a statement.
The New Zealand Prime Minister was due in Israel later this month, and he is due to address the annual memorial service at the Erez Memorial Tomb.
While the New Year’s Eve attack was claimed by the Islamic State (IS) group, Israeli officials said the attackers came from the radical Sunni group al-Nusra Front.IS claimed responsibility for the attack in a video that was posted on social media.
Al-Nusra is also known as Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, which refers to the Syrian rebels it backs as the “Army of Conquest” or the “Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant”.