Pro­test­ers clash at Par­lia­ment

The Dominion Post - - Politics - COLLETTE DEVLIN

Hun­dreds of anti-racism pro­test­ers chased Na­tional Front mem­bers from the grounds of Par­lia­ment on Satur­day.

The Na­tional Front chose the land wars memo­rial day to march to the Bee­hive for its ‘‘flag day’’ protest, claim­ing it was pro­mot­ing truth and diver­sity.

How­ever, a counter-protest was or­gan­ised to ‘‘stop their mo­bil­i­sa­tion’’.

Hun­dreds gath­ered for the Aukati Stop Racism rally and heard Green MPs Gol­riz Ghahra­man and Marama David­son speak just be­fore the Na­tional Front ar­rived.

The rally or­gan­is­ers had been ex­pect­ing a large num­ber of peo­ple from the Na­tional Front but only small groups turned up to Par­lia­ment.

The MC an­nounced that most of them were in a pub down the road, which he called ‘‘em­bar­rass­ing’’.

About six Na­tional Front mem­bers made their way to­wards Par­lia­ment in pairs, at in­ter­vals.

How­ever, each time they did not make it to the gate be­cause the rally of pro­test­ers moved them to­wards Welling­ton’s rail­way sta­tion, where about 10 other mem­bers were wait­ing.

As they walked to the sta­tion, the rally sur­rounded them and chanted ‘‘refugees wel­come, racists not’’.

One of the mem­bers asked the pro­test­ers how he could be racist if he was Ma¯ ori.

An­other said the or­gan­i­sa­tion was not racist and it was the mem­bers who voted Win­ston Peters into power.

A few scuf­fles started but po­lice in­ter­vened, sur­round­ing the Na­tional Front mem­bers to es­cort them away.

Af­ter the event Ghahra­man tweeted: ‘‘To­gether we stood strong against hate and di­vi­sion.’’

Ear­lier, her speech about her ex­pe­ri­ence as an Ira­nian refugee and not be­ing Kiwi enough roused ap­plause.

‘‘I want to thank you all from the bot­tom of my Kiwi-Ira­nian refugee heart for be­ing here to­day and stand­ing with the peo­ple who are voice­less, who have been si­lenced.

‘‘Who have all of that in­ter­nalised self hate that comes with know­ing you live in a com­mu­nity where race supremacy still ex­ists, where peo­ple do tell us we’re not Kiwi enough,’’ Ghahra­man told the crowd.

PHOTO: CAMERON BURNELL/STUFF

Anti-racism pro­test­ers clash with Right Wing pro­test­ers at Par­lia­ment on Satur­day.

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