“It has been an amazing day of peace action in Wellington where hundreds of people successfully blockaded the entrance to the Westpac Stadium. Weapons Expo delegates were prevented from getting inside for most of the day,” said Jessie Dennis from Peace Action Wellington.
15 people were arrested for minor offences in upholding the non-violent blockade, with six having been released without charge as of 5:30pm.
“The arrests are outrageous. These people are human rights defenders, and we should thank them for their work in making the world a safer and more peaceful place. We expect all of these charges will be dropped, but we will be supporting them through any court process whatever the outcome,” said Dennis.
“We are thrilled with the courage and solidarity shown by all the people who joined us today. Our action has been effective because it has directly impacted on the only thing that matters to weapons dealers: making money.
“The heavy-handed and violent actions of the police in protecting and attempting to escort delegates inside was shameful. A number of peaceful blockaders were pushed over, pushed into the road and kicked. Some injuries were sustained.
“It is the weapons dealers who are responsible for crimes against humanity, and should be held accountable for their role in making war and creating human misery. They shouldn’t be receiving protection from the police.”
Resistance against the Weapons Expo continues tonight, with a peace vigil being held by the Quakers from 5pm tonight at the railway station. Further creative peace actions will also follow tomorrow.