Story behind powerful photo of police officer in hijab after Christchurch massacre

A powerful photo of a female police officer wearing a hijab in the wake of the Christchurch mosque massacre has gone viral.

The photo of Constable Michelle Evans holding a semi-automatic rifle and wearing a hijab was captured by Associated Press photographer Vincent Yu outside the Christchurch Memorial Park Cemetery a week after the horrific event.

She wore the hijab to stand in solidarity with Muslim women and she was praised on social media for her respect.

I have lived in New Zealand for 52 years and this week I have never been more proud to call this country home,” one person wrote on Facebook.

Police officer Michelle Evans stands guard with a rose at the service for a victim of the March 15 mosque shootings. Source: AP Photo/Vincent Yu

The Sunshine Mosque in Melbourne also shared the images on social media in the wake of the tragedy.

“It is truly inspiring to see a New Zealand police officer who is not Muslim wear the hijab (head scarf) in solidarity as she protects Muslims,” it said.

“This image so strikingly captures NZ’s example of tolerance, compassion and humanity, and should be seen as far and wide possible.”

The officer has been praised for standing in solidarity with Muslims. Source: AP/Vincent Yu

Cnst Evans has been working as a police officer since 2016 and told the Whanganui Chronicle she wanted a job where she could help people.

“I wanted to work with the community that I was brought up in really, and just help people,” she said.

“It’s a satisfying job knowing that you’re going out there and that’s what you’re getting paid to do, is help people.”

The Christchurch massacre left 50 dead after a gunman opened fire at two mosques.

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