The 27 people arrested blockading the weapons conference in Wellington last week appeared in the Wellington District Court this morning and have said that they will defend the charges against them.
“All of us are firmly of the view that the crimes going on at the weapons conference were the ones inside the where the companies were busy making deals to sell more weapons. The people blockading took non-violent direct action to stop the proliferation of more death and destruction,” said Peace Action Wellington member and arrestee Valerie Morse.
“Following the arrests, most of the people were told that they would be issued with a warning instead of being charged. The police, however, changed their minds and instead decided to charge people with minor offences simply so they could impose bail conditions on them prohibiting them from returning to the TSB Arena where the weapons conference was being held. The police were instrumental in shutting down the right to freedom of speech and protest for all of these people, even though they had done nothing wrong.”
“Many of the arrestees were simply the easiest targets for police because they were standing apart from the main blockade, often out of a desire to avoid being arrested. The police then did not file the charges with the court until today so these restrictive bail conditions could not be challenged while the weapons conference was still going on.”
“This court case is just an attempt to silence people and intimidate them into not participating in political activity.”
“The campaigns against the weapons conference and NZ’s participation in the now 14-year-old war on terrorism will continue. Einstein said, ‘We cannot simultaneously prepare and prevent war’ and yet world leaders seem to think that they can bomb the world to peace.”
The next court date is Monday, 18 February at 10am.