Protest at NZDIA expo with march
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.
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‘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
The marchers walked along Cuba St.