‘Defence’ meeting greeted by demonstrators
Police say they are continuing to respond to protests outside an arms conference at the Westpac Stadium today — and by 1045am five people had been arrested for obstructing a roadway.
The conference has been organised by the New Zealand Defence Industry Association (NZDIA).
About 300 anti-weapons protesters turned out to block every entrance into the stadium, in an attempt to stop the scheduled Defence, Industry & National Security Forum.
Kapiti Quakers have been involved in a vigil on the eve of the conference, titled ‘Emerging Technologies & Cybersecurity Capabilities Supporting National Security Agencies.
Weapons company sponsor
The principle sponsor of the ‘forum’ is Lockheed Martin, the world’s largest weapons-producing corporation, which is also involved in British and US nuclear weapons production and deployment.
Silent vigils by Quakers have been planned to run from 5pm to 6.30pm yesterday and today at the Gandhi statue at the front of the Wellington train station.
The Quakers say: ‘We invite support from other faith people in calling for a world where profiting from the death and suffering of others is not acceptable business. Please join us to make a visible stand in a public place, and bring your friends. Further protest activities will be carried out on the 10th and 11th by Peace Action Wellington, see below for details and links. ‘Peace cannot come from the barrel of the gun’ banner, with vigil details, https://www.facebook.com/
In their media release, Police say: ‘Shortly after 11am Police managed to get some attendees inside despite some protesters lying down in the middle of Aotea Quay.
‘Police Inspector Neil Banks (Operations Manager) says the role of Police is to ensure safety and uphold the law, while recognising the lawful right to protest.
He adds: ‘We will continue to respond appropriately to any issues regarding disorder or public safety that may arise.’