Protest at NZDIA expo with march

Manawatu Guardian - - NEWSLETTER - By MERANIA KARAURIA

Cli­mate Jus­tice Taranaki’s Emily Bai­ley trav­elled from Par­i­haka to march.

“When you are talk­ing about war you are talk­ing about cli­mate change.”

Maruna Engu played his Pasi­fika mu­sic and said he was at the march to sup­port Peace Ac­tion Manawatu¯ (PAM).

“We are on the map and we do not want any­thing to hap­pen in the Pa­cific. We will all be af­fected.”

The af­ter­noon peace protest against the New Zealand De­fence In­dus­try As­so­ci­a­tion fo­rum was with­out in­ci­dent, de­spite po­lice de­tain­ing a woman shortly be­fore the march be­gan, as a crowd of about 400 walked from Palmer­ston North’s Square to the Arena.

The po­lice mar­shalled the march with the as­sis­tance of PAM. A large po­lice pres­ence sur­rounded the Arena where black net­ting had been erected to cover the fence­line.

Palmer­ston North City Coun­cil coun­cil­lor Brent Bar­rett ad­dressed the marchers and was crit­i­cal of the fo­rum’s pres­ence in the Arena.

“What you see and ex­pe­ri­ence here may well be the most for­ti­fied our city has ever been.

“For­ti­fied against our own peo­ple, at the be­hest of a war in­dus­try cen­tred in the United States.

“And so to­day, in our city, we see a com­plete lock-down of our one and only com­mu­nity sports hub — our city’s big­gest built com­mu­nity space.”

He con­tin­ued that he was sur­prised and dis­turbed to dis­cover the Fo­rum was be­ing held in Palmer­ston North, “hav­ing been sent pack­ing from Welling­ton and Auck­land . . . and that the deal for lock-down ac­cess to a com­mu­nity-owned venue was done be­fore the com­mu­nity had any aware­ness or in­sight”.

“It is in­ap­pro­pri­ate for the NZDIA to hold their fo­rum here. First and fore­most we are a peo­ple of peace . . . the New Zealand De­fence Force needs to be re­pur­posed.”

Many of those on the march the Manawatu¯ Guardian spoke to were moth­ers with chil­dren.

Levin mother Rose In­gus car­ried 15-month-old Wil­helmina and said it was an emo­tional time for her to be at the march.

“It is so beau­ti­ful. There is a di­verse group of peo­ple com­ing to­gether.”

Po­lice con­firmed there were 10 ar­rests from the morn­ing where pro­test­ers lay on the road and pre­vented buses from de­liv­er­ing mem­bers of the NZDIA Fo­rum to the Cen­tral En­ergy Trust Arena in Palmer­ston North.

Two peo­ple were ar­rested for as­sault­ing po­lice and the other eight for dis­or­der and ob­struc­tion, In­spec­tor Peter Thurston said.

“Po­lice were pleased with the be­hav­iour of pro­test­ers in­volved in the march from the Square, how­ever we are dis­ap­pointed with the be­hav­iour of some out­side the venue who acted in a way that cre­ated safety is­sues, dis­rupted traf­fic, in­con­ve­nienced the wider pub­lic and in one in­stance an of­fi­cer was spat at,” he said.

+ See Lo­cal Fo­cus www.lo­cal­fo­cus.nz. Made with Fund­ing by NZ on Air.

‘And so to­day, in our city, we see a com­plete lock-down of our one and only com­mu­nity sports hub — our city’s big­gest built com­mu­nity ’BRENT space.

BAR­RETT Palmer­ston North City Coun­cil coun­cil­lor

PHOTO / ALEXAN­DER ROBERT­SON

The marchers walked along Cuba St.

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