Weapons Conference Fall-out Continues
The entrance of the weapons conference was blockaded in 2015 & on 18 Feb 26 all, bar one of those arrested, appear in court. But the court case will not hinder opposition to war profiteers and plans are already afoot to stop this year's conference.
26 people are set to appear in the Wellington District court on Thursday 18th February. They were among approximately 150 people who blockaded the annual Wellington's Weapons Conference in November last year.
The 26 include students, teachers, lawyers, filmmakers, office workers, labourers, engineers, mums and dads and face charges ranging from trespass to disorderly behaviour.
“We should be applauded rather than having to waste our time with this court case,” said arrestee and Peace Action Wellington member Valerie Morse. “The NZ weapons conference is a tailor-made marketplace where more than 500 weapons and military-related companies gather to profit from killing and maiming people.
“People are appalled at the tide of refugees currently fleeing Syria and can see the link between the weapons industry and people forced to escape war-torn countries. They are outraged that warmongers are allowed to hold weapons conferences.
“Many people found it particularly abhorrent that this weapons conference was held at the TSB Arena, a Positively Wellington City Council venue,” said Morse.
“Wellington is the nuclear-free capital of nuclear-free New Zealand. In April last year Celia Wade-Brown, in her role as Executive Leader of the International Mayors for Peace, proudly led an international campaign to wave goodbye to nuclear weapons and spoke about the horrors of war. Then in November, war-profiting companies were welcomed to a city council venue. We had hoped that the City Council would take a principled stand and say no.
“One of the companies present was Lockheed Martin, a nuclear weapons producer and the world's largest weapons manufacturer. Lockheed Martin was also the conference's major sponsor. Celia did not wave goodbye to them but rather allowed them to tout business here.
“The people in court this week should be at the very least the Wellington City Council and the conference attendees,” said Morse. “They are the ones who need to be held to account for aiding and abetting warmongers.
“The links need to be drawn between military proliferation, human misery and environmental degradation. Weapon conferences must become a thing of the past. Profiting from war must stop.
“We will appear in court to defend these charges but it will not stop us opposing weapons conferences,” said Morse. “Later this year we will be protesting the weapons conference planned to be held in Auckland during Operation Neptune. If we do not stop it beforehand, we will be there to confront the war profiteers.”