- Brenton Tarrant, 28, appeared in court in Christchurch, New Zealand, on Saturday over the massacre of 49 people.
- During the brief hearing he did not speak, but made an “OK” gesture associated with white supremacy.
- The judge in the case requested that media blur Tarrant’s face. Reporters in the courtroom said Tarrant smirked during the hearing.
- You can read more about the shooting and its aftermath here.
The man suspected of killing 49 people in a mass shooting at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, flashed a white power symbol during a court appearance Saturday.
Brenton Tarrant, 28, also smirked at the media during the hearing, according to correspondents present in court.
New Zealand authorities allowed photographs and footage of the brief hearing to be published, but requested that Tarrant’s face be blurred.
Brenton Tarrant has appeared in court charged with one murder after 49 people were killed at two mosques in Christchurch, NZ.
— Sky News (@SkyNews) March 16, 2019
Images from the hearing show Tarrant forming his right hand into an inverted “OK” symbol, a gesture often associated with white supremacists.
Reporters who attended Christchurch District Court said that Tarrant smirked at them.
Andrew Thomas, a reporter for Al Jazeera, told the site: “He came into court, he didn’t say anything at all. He stood there looking directly at the media in the courtroom and was smirking throughout his appearance.”
A broadcast from Australia’s 7 News Sydney described “an occasional smirk” from Tarrant, who was flanked by 11 police guards during the appearance.
According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, the OK gesture has a convoluted history which often features alleged white supremacists claiming the gesture is innocent, or using it ironically to provoke a reaction.
A manifesto linked to Tarrant, posted before the shooting, shows the author to be steeped in ironic internet culture, referencing memes and apparent red herrings alongside more plausible motivations.
Tarrant did not speak during the appearance, in which he was told he would be detained until another court appearance on April 5.
Just over a mile away, members of the public were leaving flowers at the Al Noor mosque, where 41 of the 49 victims were shot dead yesterday.
Video from the scene showed police officers ferrying bouquets past a cordon to be placed in tribute directly outside the mosque.