Peace Activists intimidated by police
26 people were arrested for protesting the annual Weapons Conference in November 2015. The protest blockaded the entrance of the Wellington council run TSB Arena where arms dealers and NZ Defence Forces met to discuss weapons and war.
Heavy-handed policing of peace activists arrested on minor charges at last year’s arms fair will see 30 police witnesses called at a trial lasting two weeks.
A total of 16 people face charges for standing up against global weapons manufacturers including Lockheed Martin at the Wellington weapons fair.
“We were surprised that a crown prosecutor is also being brought in specially for the case for charges of trespass and obstruction,” said Gayaal Iddamalgoda.
"Freedom of speech and freedom of protest are part of New Zealand’s Bill of Rights, but the Police’s pursuit of this case is incredibly heavy-handed and seems clearly an attempt at intimidating people and stifling dissent," said Gayaal.
“The police arrested people to shut down the protest and then told us that we would not be charged. This repression is happening at a time when the government has just committed $20 billion to new weaponry and has invited US and other navies to Auckland. It's more important than ever that people in Aotearoa stand up for peace, and stand against this militarisation.”
Peace Action Wellington is joining Auckland Peace Action in organising public opposition to the international arms fair and navy visit to be held this November, in Auckland.
Press Release: Peace Action Wellington
The arrestees were in the Wellington District Court on Thursday 21 July. Another date has been set for a nominal hearing on 12 September. A trial date may be set at this stage.