Auckland: Police and protesters clash at defence forum

Police are attempting to stop the protesters from crossing a blockade at the Viaduct Events Centre.

16 Nov – Police have clashed with protesters in Auckland as about 100 people demonstrate against an event they say is a “weapons expo”.

Demonstraters broke through barricades at the Viaduct Events Centre and staged a sit-in protest.

About 40 police officers were also at Wynyard Quarter to keep the protesters at bay.

Members of Auckland Peace Action have gathered to demonstrate against the annual conference of the New Zealand Defence Industry Association, which they describe as a weapons expo.

Protesters outside the annual conference of the New Zealand Defence Industry Association.

Protesters outside the annual conference of the New Zealand Defence Industry Association.

The defence forum is attended by arms dealers from all over the world.

The conference coincides with the arrival of a flotilla of warships from around the world, which have sailed into the Waitemata Harbour to join the New Zealand Navy’s 75th anniversary celebrations.

Police and protesters clash outside the annual defence forum in Auckland

Police and protesters clash outside the annual defence forum in Auckland.

Auckland Peace Action spokesperson Virginia Lambert told RNZ yesterday that the protesters were prepared to stay “until forcibly removed”.

“We’ve come together to oppose the celebration of war, the glorification of war,” she said.

Protesters at the annual defence forum

 

New Zealand Defence Industry Association chair Bernie Diver disputed the weapons expo term, saying it was an industry discussion – with government – to support and equip the New Zealand Defence Force.

There would be no military-style weapons at the event, he said.

“We’ve got a couple of high-end personal weapons, rifles, which are no different from what you’d see at a hunting store.”

He said the protesters’ actions and descriptions of the event were misguided.

“It is really just completely misguided and an embarrassment. I think overwhelmingly most New Zealanders, everyday New Zealanders, are incredibly proud of the work that our Defence Force does, and I know that the companies that work with Defence are incredibly proud.”

Mr Diver said 300 delegates were prevented from entering the conference, while around the same number were stuck inside the venue.

He said the conference would continue tomorrow and its venue may change.

The world’s largest nuclear arms manufacturer, Lockheed Martin, is the main sponsor of the forum.

The blockade at the weapons conference in Auckland.

Last year’s event in Wellington resulted in the arrest of 28 protesters.

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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”

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”

Auckland: Officers ‘attacked’ at anti-free trade protests

8 December: Police say a female protester allegedly stomped on a constable’s head during a violent protest in Auckland this afternoon.

A crowd of up to 300 anti-free trade activists descended on Sky City where the trans-Pacific trade talks are being held.

About 50 police faced off with the protesters who thumped against  the Sky City doors, then set a series of boxes on fire. Fire officers doused them.

Protester Jax Taylor said the march was initially to present a petition protesting the secrecy of the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations to officials, but it quickly escalated out of control.

She said the group wanted to present the 750,000 signature petition to the head negotiator but when he refused to come down things got heated. Continue reading “Auckland: Officers ‘attacked’ at anti-free trade protests”

Auckland: Anti-royalist planned horse manure protest

13 November: Anti-royal protester Sam Bracanov says he was planning to throw a bucket of horse manure over Prince Charles and his wife Camilla before he was arrested on Monday.

Bracanov, 76, pleaded not guilty when he appeared in Auckland District Court on Tuesday to a charge of preparing to commit an assault on the royal couple.

Speaking while he sat on an upturned rubbish bin outside court after his appearance, Bracanov told media of his unusual protest plan.

“I went to get a bag of horse manure for $2 and I make it liquid, like a porridge, and then arrummm,” he said, making a throwing motion with his arms. “I would have done it.”

He said he chose this form of protest because he opposed the idea of the Prince of Wales being born into privilege. “He didn’t qualify with his brain. He qualified with his body, and what body produce goes to toilet, so I would hit him with what goes to toilet.” Continue reading “Auckland: Anti-royalist planned horse manure protest”

NZ: Prisoner protest at Paremoremo

Aotearoa Indymedia, June 24: Two prisoners have been conducting a protest at Paremoremo prison [Auckland] for two days. They scaled a disused watchtower in the prison yard and have barricaded themselves in. They have been there now for two nights. The two have communicated with ‘corrections’ staff by writing in toothpaste on the window saying that they are conducting a peaceful protest over prison conditions and wish to speak to prisoner rights campaigner, Peter Williams.

There is a report that one of them has come down on the afternoon of June 24.

Prison conditions

Peter Williams was on the radio briefly on Sunday morning saying that conditions inside Paremoremo were ‘inhumane’. He said that many people were on 23-hour lockdown with nothing to do but stay in bed. Another story related to Indymedia was that there was a recent prisoner riot in Cell Block D at Mt Eden Prison in which people burned their mattresses in protest at the lack of yard time and sunlight; instead they have been given vitamin D pills.  Continue reading “NZ: Prisoner protest at Paremoremo”