Wednesday, October 17, 2007

New Zealand Consulate Protest

The following article was written by Michael Williams, an Anarchist in Geelong. He attended the Aotearoa solidarity protest on Tuesday 16th October 2007 at 11am and has written his report on the event.

Tuesday the 16th saw a group of twenty protestors stand in solidarity against the unjust actions of the New Zealand federal police against a group of New Zealand activists. The protest was held at 11am outside the New Zealand Consulate-General in Melbourne. The protestors included left-wing activists from many different backgrounds, including myself, a more covert Anti-fascist activist. We were graced by the presence of the mainstream media and of course the State Fascists in Victoria Police and two armed Federal Police officers.

On the 15th October in the early morning, up to 17 activists were arrested and charged with Possession of Firearms offences. A number of houses were raided, including activist community houses in Auckland and Wellington. The police have made the claim that those arrested may be involved in guerrilla type training in the mountains of Aotearoa/New Zealand.

In an article by the publication “Crikey,” an Anarchist activist speaks about the raids;

“As far as I understand it, those who have been charged have been charged with possession of arms and ammunition at some point in the past - ie, they had none of it on them when they were arrested...” “The raids started in Ruatoki at 4am, at the house of well-known Tino Rangatiratanga activist Tame Iti...”

“... there was a knock at my door. I opened it to find four police officers, all in plain-clothes but wearing police vests over the top. One of the officers showed me his ID, at which point I asked him if he had a warrant. He did not reply, and instead asked me if a certain person was in my house. I asked again if he had a warrant, and when he said that they didn’t, I told them to leave the property, and closed the door...”

“I was demanding they leave immediately under the Trespass Act. They refused to leave, and demanded I prove I was the occupier, or else they would stay. My flatmate soon produced our lease form, which I showed them. They wrote down our names, I told them again to leave, and shortly afterwards they did so...”

“I think that just goes to show how ludicrous these trumped up charges are. At the Wellington activist community centre, while police were supposedly searching the house for weapons, they simultaneously had no issue with residents using huge kitchen knives to cut up apples and make apple pie."

Likewise, this morning we have already seen Jamie Lockett, one of the arrestees in Auckland, released on bail [only to then have his bail denied by a higher court]. None of this seems to fit the picture of a dangerous terrorist network! And while the police found no weapons at the Wellington activist community centre, they did confiscate a backpack containing carrots and an avocado!” It seems that the actions by the New Zealand police do not fit in with the severity of the allegations made by both the police and the media. If it was truly believed those arrested were dangerous terrorists plotting armed revolution it would make sense the police would be armed to the teeth during the raids, according to the NZ Anarchist quoted above, the police were armed only with batons... Something is definitely fishy about this!,21985,22601472-23109,00.html

“At a bail hearing for one of the arrested men, Jamie Lockett, prosecutors said he had sent a series of text messages saying he intended to launch a war. The messages, intercepted by police, were said to include "White men are going to die in this country'' and "I'm declaring war on this country very soon".”

Though I do not denounce political activism against the government, if the above quote is true, I must reject and denounce Jamie Lockett for his blatant racism. I believe in the protection of the Maori people in Aotearoa/New Zealand and I am against any oppression against them by the Capitalists in power, Maori activists cannot put the blame on ordinary White workers. The enemy is the government, which includes people of all colours and creeds. I do not want to descend this article in to a rant about racial equality, I'd rather talk about the positive protest I attended on Tuesday...

The protest began at about 11am, with a fellow activist performed a bit of a satire pointed at the New Zealand Suppression of Terrorism Act, the act was very funny and included some volunteers from the audience wearing a variety of military style hats and throwing paper airplanes at the New Zealand Consulate... All very amusing! After the fun we heard speeches from both Sina Davis, a Maori spokesperson in Australia and a very emotional speech by an activist that knew many of the people involved. It is very scary and depressing when loved ones are arrested on unjust charges and held in prison with very little information about their condition released. In all, the protest was very successful and resulted in some media exposure. I'd like to send my good wishes to all those activists in Aotearoa/New Zealand and I hope the court cases result in true justice for everyone involved. We must all stand in solidarity against state oppression and fight for what is right!

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