Anzac Day 2016 Festivities Include Charges Against Teenage Boy Allegedly Involved In Terrorist Plot

Anzac Day is the day that Australians and New Zealanders commemorate those who served and died in all wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping operations and is similar to Memorial Day in the U.S. As Australians and New Zealanders prepared to commemorate this year’s Anzac Day, a teenage boy was charged with being involved in targeting the holiday commemoration.

9 News Australia reported that a Sydney teen was charged over an Anzac Day terror plot. The 16-year-old was accused of trying to obtain a firearm. He was taken into custody after Joint Counter Terrorism Team officers attached to Operation Vianden went to his home and arrested him. Court documents also state that what was classified as extremist propaganda was also found.

Although the counter-terrorism team searched the teen’s home, they didn’t find any weapons or explosives. The unnamed teenager has been charged with one count of acts in preparation for, or planning, a terrorist act. If he is convicted, the penalty is life in prison.

During a police press conference, Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione said there was an online component to the threat, but police believe the teen acted alone.

“‘The age of the individual is of significant concern, 16 years of age, a boy,’ Mr Scipione said, shortly after the Martin Place dawn service ceremony this morning. ‘At this stage we believe it was one person by himself. The risk from this particular threat has been thwarted.'”

Police encouraged those who planned to attend Anzac Day commemorations to continue with their plans. The commissioner encouraged Australians to go and enjoy the day, as it is an important holiday for them.

ABC News Australia reported that events took place as usual across Australia and Gallipoli to commemorate the holiday. People from both Australia and Gallipoli gathered to commemorate the Battle of Gallipoli and those who died there.

The Battle of Gallipoli was a World War I campaign that took place on the Gallipoli Peninsula in Turkey. It happened between April 25, 1915, and January 9, 1916. British and French Naval forces launched a naval attack with the intent of capturing Constantinople. The naval attack was repelled, and after eight months of fighting, allied forces withdrew to Egypt, resulting in one of the greatest military victories ever for Turkish forces. April 25 marks the birth of the awakening of Australian consciousness and is the most significant commemoration of military casualties and veterans.

Thousands of Australians also attended Dawn Services to commemorate Anzac Day and the Battle of Gallipoli. It was the 101st anniversary of the Gallipoli landings. The national Anzac Day commemoration took place in Canberra and was attended by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and opposition leader Bill Shorten. Approximately 55,000 people attended the event, where the prime minister paid tribute to those who gave their lives. He also mentioned that Australia, her allies, and Turkey were also facing a war fought both at home and abroad in every dimension.

Other Anzac Day commemorations featured events that took place across the world, including Iraq and Villers-Bretonneux in Northern France. Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove gave a speech at the event in Villers-Bretonneux. About 5,000 Australians attended the dawn service that took place. A traditional gunfire breakfast also took place at the Taji base in Iraq, but the troops who commemorated the event weren’t allowed to have rum in their coffee as is traditional.

[Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images]