Wellington anti-war activists say that their blockade of the Defence Industry Association´s (DIA) annual conference was more than justified in light of the rise in 3.5% of Lockheed Martin´s share price on Monday.
“The fact that the shares of major weapons manufacturers soared following the deadly attacks in Paris shows how much these companies profit from death and destruction. This is why a hundred and fifty people disrupted the weapons conference in Wellington on Tuesday,” said Peace Action Wellington member Valerie Morse.
Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee had stated on Tuesday that delegates were not discussing the business of war. He also said none of the companies at the conference supplied weapons or arms to the defence force.
Lockheed Martin, the world´s largest weapons manufacturer, was the principal sponsor of the conference and holds a NZ$400m contract to refurbish NZ´s frigates. Other sponsors included General Dynamics, Thales and CAE.
“Who does Gerry Brownlee think he is fooling when he says that the weapons conference is concerned with paper cups and socks? Or is he suggesting that the frigates will be armed solely with wool products?” Ms Morse said.
“The public know as well as the delegates that the conference was all about making money from war – and people have made it clear that they find this unacceptable. More than 1000 people signed a petition asking the council, which owns the TSB Arena, to stop the conference and 150 turned up to protest on the day.”
“War is not just another business and people should not have been arrested for trying to shut down what is an immoral and illegitimate activity,” Ms Morse concluded.
The twitter hashtag #StopWeaponsConf was among the trending topics on Tuesday.