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Thousands gather for Anzac Day in Australia, New Zealand amid heightened security

Updated : 2019-04-25 08:30:45

Tens of thousands gathered in Australia and New Zealand at Anzac Day memorials on Thursday amid heightened security following the shooting massacre at Christchurch mosques and deadly suicide bombings of churches and hotels in Sri Lanka.

Anzac Day commemorates the bloody battle on the Gallipoli peninsula in Turkey during World War One. On April 25, 1915, thousands of troops from the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) were among a larger Allied force that landed on the narrow beaches of the Gallipoli peninsula, an ill-fated campaign that would claim more than 130,000 lives.

While the Gallipoli campaign against the Turks failed, the landing date of April 25 has become a major day of remembrance in Australia and New Zealand for their troops killed in all military conflicts.

Addressing thousands gathered for a dawn service at the Auckland War Memorial Museum, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said that, in the wake of the Christchurch massacre, Anzac Day 2019 should be an even greater uniting force.

"Let us recommit to always remembering our shared humanity that there is more that unites us than divides us," Ardern said.

Britain's Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge, paid tribute at the Auckland War Memorial alongside Ardern. He will travel to Christchurch later on Thursday to honour the 50 victims of the shooting.

Heightened security saw about 1,000 police deployed across New Zealand at hundreds of locations and security concerns meant Anzac Day events in Auckland, New Zealand's largest city, and elsewhere were scaled back.

Image: AP

Source: Reuters

Flag bearers carry Australian flags during a march celebrating ANZAC Day, a national day of remembrance in Australia and New Zealand that commemorates those that served and died in all wars, conflicts, and while peacekeeping, in Sydney, Australia, Thursday, April 25, 2019. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)
Flag bearers carry Australian flags during a march celebrating ANZAC Day, a national day of remembrance in Australia and New Zealand that commemorates those that served and died in all wars, conflicts, and while peacekeeping, in Sydney, Australia, Thursday, April 25, 2019. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, centre left, and Britain's Prince William arrive to lay a wreath during an Anzac Day service in Auckland, New Zealand, Thursday, April 25, 2019. (Brett Phibbs/SNPA via AP)
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, centre left, and Britain's Prince William arrive to lay a wreath during an Anzac Day service in Auckland, New Zealand, Thursday, April 25, 2019. (Brett Phibbs/SNPA via AP)
Britain's Prince William lays a wreath during an Anzac Day service in Auckland, New Zealand, Thursday, April 25, 2019. (Brett Phibbs/SNPA via AP)
Britain's Prince William lays a wreath during an Anzac Day service in Auckland, New Zealand, Thursday, April 25, 2019. (Brett Phibbs/SNPA via AP)
Britain's Prince William and New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern attend an Anzac Day service at Auckland War Memorial Museum in Auckland, New Zealand Thursday, April 25, 2019. (Mark Tantrum/The New Zealand Government via AP)
Britain's Prince William and New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern attend an Anzac Day service at Auckland War Memorial Museum in Auckland, New Zealand Thursday, April 25, 2019. (Mark Tantrum/The New Zealand Government via AP)
Britain's Prince William, front right, and New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, second right in front, attend an Anzac Day service at Auckland War Memorial Museum in Auckland, New Zealand Thursday, April 25, 2019. (Mark Tantrum/The New Zealand Government via AP)
Britain's Prince William, front right, and New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, second right in front, attend an Anzac Day service at Auckland War Memorial Museum in Auckland, New Zealand Thursday, April 25, 2019. (Mark Tantrum/The New Zealand Government via AP)
The shadow of an Australian veteran, right, is cast on the ground as he waves his hat during a march celebrating ANZAC Day, a national day of remembrance in Australia and New Zealand that commemorates those that served and died in all wars, conflicts, and while peacekeeping, in Sydney, Australia, Thursday, April 25, 2019. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)
The shadow of an Australian veteran, right, is cast on the ground as he waves his hat during a march celebrating ANZAC Day, a national day of remembrance in Australia and New Zealand that commemorates those that served and died in all wars, conflicts, and while peacekeeping, in Sydney, Australia, Thursday, April 25, 2019. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)
An Australian veteran, right, waves his hat during a march celebrating ANZAC Day, a national day of remembrance in Australia and New Zealand, in Sydney, Australia, Thursday, April 25, 2019. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)
An Australian veteran, right, waves his hat during a march celebrating ANZAC Day, a national day of remembrance in Australia and New Zealand, in Sydney, Australia, Thursday, April 25, 2019. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)
World War II veteran 103-year-old Bert Collins is pushed in his wheelchair during a march celebrating ANZAC Day, a national day of remembrance in Australia and New Zealand in Sydney, Australia, Thursday, April 25, 2019. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)
World War II veteran 103-year-old Bert Collins is pushed in his wheelchair during a march celebrating ANZAC Day, a national day of remembrance in Australia and New Zealand in Sydney, Australia, Thursday, April 25, 2019. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)
Two-year-old Sabastian Nunez claps his hands as he watches a march celebrating ANZAC Day, a national day of remembrance in Australia and New Zealand, in Sydney, Australia, Thursday, April 25, 2019. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)
Two-year-old Sabastian Nunez claps his hands as he watches a march celebrating ANZAC Day, a national day of remembrance in Australia and New Zealand, in Sydney, Australia, Thursday, April 25, 2019. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)
A woman carries a photo of a veteran during a march celebrating ANZAC Day, a national day of remembrance in Australia and New Zealand, in Sydney, Australia, Thursday, April 25, 2019. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)
A woman carries a photo of a veteran during a march celebrating ANZAC Day, a national day of remembrance in Australia and New Zealand, in Sydney, Australia, Thursday, April 25, 2019. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)
A man plays the tuba during a march celebrating ANZAC Day, a national day of remembrance in Australia and New Zealand, in Sydney, Australia, Thursday, April 25, 2019. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)
A man plays the tuba during a march celebrating ANZAC Day, a national day of remembrance in Australia and New Zealand, in Sydney, Australia, Thursday, April 25, 2019. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)
Riders participate in a march celebrating ANZAC Day, a national day of remembrance in Australia and New Zealand, in Sydney, Australia, Thursday, April 25, 2019. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)
Riders participate in a march celebrating ANZAC Day, a national day of remembrance in Australia and New Zealand, in Sydney, Australia, Thursday, April 25, 2019. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)
People line a street during a march celebrating ANZAC Day, a national day of remembrance in Australia and New Zealand, in Sydney, Australia, Thursday, April 25, 2019. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)
People line a street during a march celebrating ANZAC Day, a national day of remembrance in Australia and New Zealand, in Sydney, Australia, Thursday, April 25, 2019. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)
Members of the Australian Army march to celebrate ANZAC Day, a national day of remembrance in Australia and New Zealand, in Sydney, Australia, Thursday, April 25, 2019. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)
Members of the Australian Army march to celebrate ANZAC Day, a national day of remembrance in Australia and New Zealand, in Sydney, Australia, Thursday, April 25, 2019. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)
Riderless horses symbolizing fallen soldiers take part in a march celebrating ANZAC Day, a national day of remembrance in Australia and New Zealand, in Sydney, Australia, Thursday, April 25, 2019. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)
Riderless horses symbolizing fallen soldiers take part in a march celebrating ANZAC Day, a national day of remembrance in Australia and New Zealand, in Sydney, Australia, Thursday, April 25, 2019. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)
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