Advertisement

Dozens Of Anzac Day Services Cancelled In Auckland Due To Security Risks

Security fears in the wake of the Christchurch terror attack have triggered the cancellation of dozens of ANZAC Day commemorations in one of New Zealand's largest cities.

Only 26 commemorations will go ahead in Auckland later this month, compared to 84 last year.

The move follows recommendations from police over lingering security concerns following the March 15 shooting, which saw 50 people massacred inside two Christchurch mosques.

Superintendent Karyn Malthus from Auckland City District Commander said police had recommended to Auckland Council and local RSAs to consolidate a number of the planned events.

READ MORE: Hundreds Gather As Father And Son First Victims To Be Buried In Christchurch

READ MORE: Shooting Survivor Has A Message For Christchurch Gunman

“Consolidating events for this year’s commemorations enables Police to ensure that resources are deployed appropriately across services," Malthus said.

“There is no information about a specific threat to ANZAC events at this time, however, it’s important that the public be safe and feel safe at events in the current environment.”

Auckland's largest Anzac Day commemoration at the War Memorial is expected to go ahead. Image: Getty Images.

But in Christchurch itself, organisers say events will take place as planned.

Local RSA president Peter Dawson said while he understood the reasoning in Auckland, due to the higher population, his organisation had opted to continue.

"We believe we have a duty to those that went before us to continue with Anzac Day and get back to normality as soon as we can," he told Radio NZ.

"We don't believe we'd be honouring that sacrifice if we allowed one person to destroy that faith, that heritage and that commemoration."

A highly visible police presence has continued across New Zealand in the wake of the attack and Malthus said that would continue during the Anzac Day commemorations, "for the public's reassurance".

Anzac Day Celebrations In Gallipoli

Last month concerns were held that the traditional pilgrimage of Australians and New Zealanders to Turkey for Anzac Day commemorations in Gallipoli could also be under threat, after controversial comments made by Turkish President  Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in the wake of the attack.

Scott Morrison announced the DFAT travel advisory to Turkey would be placed under review and warned Australians planning to travel to Gallipoli to "remain cautious".

Image: AAP

The Turkish leader's comments were widely-condemned earlier this week after he threatened anyone who entered Turkey with anti-Muslim sentiments would be sent back "in coffins", "like their grandfathers were", invoking the battle at Gallipoli.

READ MORE: 'Highly Offensive, Reckless': PM Lashes Out At Turkish President Over Christchurch Comments

The Prime Minister unleashed on Recep Tayyip Erdoğan over his comments slamming them as "highly offensive" and "reckless" and said: "all options were on the table".

On Monday, DFAT quietly announced it had completed its review of its travel advisory and said the level would remain unchanged at "exercise a high degree of caution in Ankara and Istanbul, and in Turkey overall.

Other areas of Turkey closer the border of Syria remain  We have reviewed our travel advice for Turkey - we haven't changed the level - it remains exercise a high degree of caution in Ankara and Istanbul, and in Turkey overall.

Thousands of Australians and New Zealanders travel toTurkey every year for the ANZAC Dawn service at Anzac Cove in commemoration of the battles on Gallipoli Peninsula. Image: Getty Images.

On its website, DFAT recommends Australians planning to travel to Turkey should stay as short a time as possible in high-risk locations, think carefully about security even in tour groups and check their insurance policy to ensure they are fully covered.

Following Erdogan's comments, New Zealand said its own similar advisory to exercise a high degree of caution would remain unchanged.

At the time, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Winston Peters would be travelling to Turkey to "confront" him about the comments and "set the record straight".

Erdogan was condemned internationally for showing the live-streamed footage of the Christchurch terror attack at a number of political rallies in Turkey in the days after the attack.

With AAP.

Featured Image: Getty Images

Contact the author: vgerova@networkten.com.au