Peaceful protest ends in arrests

By Mānia Clarke-Mamanu

Protesters disrupted the Defence, Industry and National Security Forum in Palmerston North today, leading to nine arrests. 

A spokesperson for socialist group Organise Aotearoa claims the arrests were unwarranted.

Vocal protesters who were determined to disrupt a bus of delegates headed to the forum were unsuccessful.

“Many have been arrested with no good cause or reason,” says Kate McIntyre.

“There has been a lot of shoving, a lot of elbowing a lot of yelling at people.  They're acting today as private security for war profiteers.”

Organise Aotearoa alleges the defence forum held by the New Zealand Defence Industry Association is an expo for war profiteers to trade and deal in cutting edge weapons.

“War profiteering is happening on our shores,” says McIntyre.

“There are children in Yemen, Afghanistan, Palestine who are dying because these people weren't stopped from conducting their business.”

A local group against the event says it should not be held in New Zealand.

“We support this whole-heartedly.  We don't need to sell weapons here, there's no threat to New Zealand,” says 'Colonel Klink' of Peace Action Manawatū (PAM).

Organise Aotearoa are calling for the forums to be shut down and will continue to protest at every event.