Wellington community prepares for Weapons Conference protest with Non Violent Direct Action training

Wellington community members are preparing for a blockade of the upcoming Weapons Conference at a free Non Violent Direct Action (NVDA) training workshop run by Peace Action Wellington on the 7th November at Aro Valley Community Hall. People of all ages, abilities and levels of experience are welcome.

The training session will prepare people for the Weapons Conference, a meeting of 200 of the world’s largest arms manufacturers, due to be held on 17 & 18 November at the TSB Arena.

Ellie from Peace Action Wellington today said “We’re opposing the Weapons Conference because we strongly believe that there should be no business as usual when your business is death and destruction. This Non-Violent Direct Action training will be great for everyone young or old, whether you’re a seasoned protester or totally new to direct action. Anyone who thinks that we shouldn’t be allowing arms dealers to shmooze in our city is welcome to come along.”

Community non-violent direct action has a strong history in New Zealand, from the 1881 non-violent resistance of the community of Parihaka to anti-tour protests during the 1981 Springbok tour of New Zealand to the resistance to nuclear weapons in 1987. That tradition continues today.

Public opinion is very much against the Weapons Conference being held in the capital of Nuclear Free New Zealand. Around a thousand members of the public signed a petition demanding that the conference not be held at a WCC venue, particularly noting that Lockheed Martin, a leading nuclear weapons manufacturer, is the primary sponsor of the conference. For the future, Peace Action Wellington are encouraging the Wellington City Council to develop ethical guidelines around bookings for Council owned venues. In 2006 the conference was held at Te Papa, but due to community protest, Te Papa declined to host the arms dealers again.

The NZ Defence Industry Association Weapons Conference has a history of facing community protest in Wellington and protesters are confident that they will succeed in delaying, disrupting and ultimately stopping Weapons Conference this year.

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