NZ: Activists Occupy Labour Party Offices Across Aotearoa

Activists are occupying Labour MP offices across the country today to urge the government to take immediate action on the Manus Island refugee crisis.

In a demonstration of solidarity for the men trapped on Manus Island, activists have today occupied Jacinda Ardern’s office in Auckland to make an urgent demand for Jacinda Ardern to bring all the Manus Island refugees to Aotearoa immediately.

“Jacinda Ardern needs to talk directly to the Papua New Guinea government to arrange for all the Manus Island refugees to be brought to New Zealand. This week Papua New Guinea government officials have been destroying the water supplies, and the refugees are reaching their 17th day without water, power, food and essential medication.” said Auckland Peace Action member Hamish Noonan.

“The deal to take 150 refugees is a toxic deal left over from the John Key government, which had Australia offering to detain people wanting to come to New Zealand in return. The Labour government is now using delaying tactics and needs to accept all the refugees on Manus Island, not just 150.”

“We have been in contact with many of the refugees on Manus Island. 20 of the refugees are gay and have been fleeing persecution, but are being held in a country where homosexuality is illegal and can lead to lengthy prison terms. They need to be evacuated to safety as soon as possible.”

“We call on Jacinda Ardern to condemn Australia’s cruel, inhumane and illegal treatment of asylum seekers. Auckland Peace Action calls for a fair and due process for people seeking asylum in the Pacific.”

There will be a rally in Aotea Square this Sunday at 1pm to support the Manus Island refugees.

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Auckland: No Pride in Prisons Protesters Bring Pride Parade to a Halt

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21 Feb – No Pride in Prisons, a queer and transgender activist group managed to stop the Auckland Pride Parade from progressing. The group took this action in order to protest the inclusion of uniformed police and Corrections officers.

Approximately 300 protesters marched down Karangahape Road towards the Pride Parade. Faced with a police line, a handful of protesters broke through the line and managed to get onto the Parade ground.

This group stayed on the street for approximately an hour and a half and forced the Parade organisers to change the Parade route.

From there, a second group of protesters on the sidelines opened the barriers and rushed onto the road in front of the police float. The protesters then sat across the street, holding a banner reading “Queers Against Cops”.

This action follows the Auckland Pride Board’s decision to allow members of the police and the Department of Corrections to march in uniform in the parade.

“We took the actions we did in order to condemn the Auckland Pride Board’s decision to include violent, racist and transmisogynist institutions in its parade for the second year in a row,” says No Pride in Prisons spokesperson, Emilie Rākete.

“Given recent reports of racist police brutality and Corrections’ announcement to extend its ‘double-bunking’ policy, it is disgraceful that the Auckland Pride Board decided to include Corrections and police in the Pride Parade.”

“Corrections’ policies directly contribute to physical and sexual violence against trans and queer prisoners.”

Continue reading “Auckland: No Pride in Prisons Protesters Bring Pride Parade to a Halt”

Ōtepoti (NZ): Queer anti-prison activists protest outside a National Party office

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20 Feb – No Pride in Prisons Ōtepoti organised a small solidarity demonstration in the Upper Octagon today..

We stand with NPIP members up north today against the pinkwashing of Auckland Pride, in part by its own committee, and in condemnation of both the Department of Corrections and the New Zealand Police for their discriminatory, harmful and dangerous treatment of transgender prisoners.

Too many of our trans siblings have been lost in and to a dangerous system that ignores our basic human rights. The oppressors and abusers in that system do not deserve to march in Pride with us

NZ: Gay Cops are Still Cops

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12 Feb – Over the past couple of weeks, No Pride in Prisons has placed increasing pressure on the Pride Board, and the Auckland queer community more generally, to ban uniformed police officers from the pride parade. As we now know, the Pride Board chose to disregard legitimate concerns with that institution being included. A common response to these concerns, from uncritical members of the community, has been: “What about the gay cops? Aren’t they a part of our community? Who are you to ban members of the community?”

To that, we ask: What is the queer community? The decision as to whether police can march in a pride parade is the kind of decision which determines what kind of community we are. Are we a community of marginalised peoples? Are we a community which cares about other marginalised peoples? Or, are we more concerned with consolidating the privileges of the most privileged within our ‘community’?

Cops have no place in any queer community made up of marginalised peoples. This is because it is the role of the police to uphold the privileges of the powerful, and maintain the marginalisation of the oppressed. How do they do this? As an institution, the New Zealand Police has admitted that it has an ‘unconscious bias’ against Māori. This is played out in the New Zealand Police apprehending and charging Māori at a rate that far surpasses that of Pākehā for the same crimes.

Police target and oppress other and overlapping marginalised peoples as well. You may have seen police harassing homeless people or people they suspect of being sex workers. No Pride in Prisons has received reports from trans women who have been violently assaulted by police and arrested for the supposed crime of “walking while trans”. The police’s targeting and criminalisation of certain groups is part of what makes and maintains their marginalisation. Community is required so that those on the margins can continue to survive. In other words, the police’s actions make the community necessary. As a result, cops are not and never will be part of a community of marginalised peoples.

Continue reading “NZ: Gay Cops are Still Cops”

NZ: Government minister Anne Tolley’s office firebombed

The smashed door glass shows where the firebomb entered Tolley's Whakatane office.

5 Feb – Molotov cocktails were thrown into Government minister Anne Tolley’s Whakatane office overnight and anti-TPPA graffiti was scrawled on a wall outside.

Police said Tolley’s office was under police guard following the attack, which comes at a time of high tensions over the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement.

The attempted firebombing comes after vandals broke into Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee’s Christchurch office on Monday morning and poured fuel in a room before leaving.

“When the police tell you that it’s a pretty determined effort, it does shake you up a bit – they went to a lot of trouble to try and burn my office down, so it’s a bit scary, and pretty tough on the staff.”

“I think the police patrol caught it quite early on…if it had been on carpet or something that could have caught alight quickly.”

Tolley said she hadn’t expected any attacks on her office, with anti-TPPA marches in her electorate run in a “well-organised and well-contained” manner.

“Some people get quite aggressive when they’re talking to you, but generally people are quite reasonable – they’re passionate, but violence is an extreme reaction.”

The office would be closed over the weekend while police finished their work and damage was dealt with, Tolley said.

In a statement, Prime Minister John Key said he was disappointed by the attack.

“People always have the right to peaceful protest and are free to do so, as long as they don’t break the law or put anyone in harm’s way.

“Incidents like these are hugely disappointing because our MPs work incredibly hard for their communities as do the staff who work in their offices. They have a right to feel safe in their workplaces and I would urge people to respect that.”

The fire appeared to have happened overnight but had been reported to police soon after 7am, said Senior Sergeant Denton Grimes of the Bay of Plenty District Command Centre.

“From a police point of view it’s now determining what caused it and who is responsible, if it’s suspicious.”

Auckland: Rowdy demo against TPP shuts down city streets

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5 Feb – The Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement was signed at Sky City in Auckland this morning, amid large protests in the central city.

Detective Superintendent Richard Chambers has spoken about the large police operation in central Auckland.

He said there were no arrests made and several hundred officers were involved in the operation.

He is aware of images circulating of police being “heavy handed” (aka pulling protesters by their hair, throwing them on the ground, and beating them with batons and fists, twisting arms and choking protesters with illegal holds.) but says he is confident they operated appropriately to stop people from running onto on-ramps and putting themselves at risk.

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“There have been thousands of people in the city, many of those people were there to voice their thoughts on TPP,” he said.

“I’m very disappointed there were a group among them who chose to disrupt traffic.”

He says officers were abused, had their clothing and hats pulled, but displayed “outstanding professionalism”.

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A massive group of protesters had gathered at the intersections of Victoria West St and Hobson St, while a steady stream of protesters also made their way down Nelson Street, parallel to Hobson Street, while chanting profanities directed at police.

A large number of people from several iwi groups had gathered at Victoria Park, and later boarded buses heading for Waitangi.

“The world is watching the hikoi today, whanau,” one of them said.

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NZ: Vandals attack MP Gerry Brownlee’s Christchurch office

A window was smashed and fuel found inside Gerry Brownlee's Ilam office on Monday morning.

1 Feb – Vandals have smashed a window and poured or thrown fuel inside MP Gerry Brownlee’s Christchurch office.

Police were called to the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Minister’s office in Greers Rd, Ilam, on Monday morning after staff discovered the building had been damaged.

Detective inspector Greg Murton said CCTV footage showed two men breaking a window to gain access to the Earthquake Recovery Minister’s Greers Rd office just after 3am.

They poured accelerant in a ground floor room, then left shortly after.

Police are appealing to the public to help identify these two vandals who broke into MP Gerry Brownlee's office early Monday morning.

“They appear to have approached the property heading south-west along Greers Road and have left the scene in the opposite direction heading north-east,” Murton said in a statement.

It was believed the two men arrived and left on motorcycles, wearing identical clothing and “distinctive trainers”.

A scene examination was carried out on Monday, and police were working with Brownlee’s office, Murton said.