Aotearoa and the Arms Trade – public talk & NVDA training

Join us for a public talk Aotearoa and the Arms Trade & non-violent direct action (NVDA) training on Tues 16th October, 6pm, at St John’s in the City (Willis Street). We’re stoked to welcome a special guest speaker MP Golriz Ghahraman.

We’ll be talking about Aotearoa’s involvement in the global arms trade, local arms companies, the upcoming Weapons Expo in Palmerston North and the planned protest against it. The NVDA training will aim to empower and prepare you for any protest! You can find out more on the Facebook event.

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Aotearoa and the Arms Trade is part one of a series of Social Justice Forums from the Wellington Workers’ Educational Association, with forums from People Against Prisons and Wellington Palestine as well – head along to all three events!

After the public talk, everyone is welcome to the Double the Quota celebration party at Meow – celebrating the confirmation that Aotearoa’s refugee quota will (FINALLY) be doubled. Well done to the Doing our Bit campaign for their hard work to make this a reality!

Weapons Expo protest in Palmerston North – 31st Oct & 1st Nov

The main days of protest against the Weapons Expo will be 31st October and 1st November. We’ll be joining Peace Action Manawatū and aiming to disrupt the warmongers as much as possible. If you can go earlier, Peace Action Manawatū have a whole load of events you can join them for! Keep an eye on their Facebook here.

Travel options to Palmerston North
Here are some options for travel to Palmerston North – please let us know by Friday 19th October about your transport needs/offers.

  • Come on our bus: We’re offering transport to Palmerston North, departing evening of Tuesday 30th October and returning late evening Thursday 1st November. If you want to travel with us, please email us.
  • If that doesn’t work for you, let us know: If those times don’t work for you, but you want travel support, please email us when you plan to be there and return. We’ll try to find you a car share or look at other options.
  • Offer a car-share: If you are planning to drive to Palmerston North for the protest and you have space in your car, please email us and let us know when you are travelling there and back, and how many spaces you have to offer.

Accommodation in Palmerston North
Please register with Peace Action Manawatū as soon as possible if you need accommodation in Palmerston North.

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Art as activism and other upcoming events 🎨 🎭 ✌

The Weapons Expo is just around the corner (put the dates in your diary – 30th, 31st October & 1st November!) so we’re getting ready here in Te Whanganui-a-Tara. We’ve got two events coming up in the city, plus more info about what’s being planned, plus getting to Palmerston North for the Weapons Expo Peace Protest. Read on!

Art as Activism – Tuesday 25th September

Join us on Tuesday 25th September, 6pm for Art as Activism to talk about how art and creative responses can be used to protest, mock and disrupt the business of war. We’ll have a bit of a 101 on the arms industry / why its fucked, watch some informative vids, and kōrero about how art and resistance are like cheese on crackers.

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Could this clown be you??! We’ll have a special focus on clowning as a tactic with special guest clown Ingrid Saker, who will help you create your clown persona ready for protesting the Weapons Expo.

Keep an eye on the Facebook event for updates. Feel free to come along even if you’re not super keen on clowning – the kōrero is for everyone.

Aotearoa and the Arms Trade, plus non-violent direct action training – 16th October

We’re teaming up with the Wellington Workers Educational Association to run a public talk on the arms trade globally and locally, the Weapons Expo and resistance to it. We’ll also be running a short non-violent direct action training.

Date: Tuesday 16th October
Time: 6 – 7.30pm
Where: St John’s in the City, Corner of Willis/Dixon Street

Seeds for Peace sown in Palmerston North

Peace Action Manawatū are getting ready for resisting the Weapons Expo! They’re planning a Peace March Against the Arms Trade – join the Facebook event here for updates.

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Roadtrip!

We’re planning a road-trip to Te Papaioea/Palmerston North. Join the Facebook event here if you’re interested in coming along, or email us on peacewellington@riseup.net and let us know how many people and what dates you want to go.

Here we are in Palmy! (definitely not photoshopped).

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Court update!

Court has now finished and a decision is reserved for the end of October when we’ll be in Te Papaioea/Palmy with Peace Action Manawatū, protesting the next Weapons Expo.

Ka whawhai tonu mātou, ake ake ake!

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Solidarity crew with Adi and Gary

Peace activists, Adi Leason and Gary Chiles are charged with obstructing a public way. The charges were brought after a protest against the military weapons industry at the annual Weapons Expo, which was held at the Westpac Stadium in October 2017.

Adi today testified on why he was protesting the Weapons Expo, telling the story of Mamana Bibi. In 2012, she was gardening when a Lockheed Martin manufactured missile was dropped on her by a US drone. She was killed instantly, in front of her grandchildren (http://time.com/4422469/u-s-drone-strikes/). Lockheed Martin are the primary sponsor of the Weapons Expo and make gigantic profits from the arms trade.

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Mamana Bibi’s family

Here is an excerpt from the court transcript:

Q. What did you think about the expo? How did you feel about it?

A. I have deep and grave concerns about this event occurring, particularly the presence of organisations – corporations like Lockheed Martin. I had become quite incensed, I know that’s too strong a word.  No, no, I was deeply disturbed by a report I read, I think I was at home listening to the National Radio and on Radio New Zealand there was a report in 2012, it’s called “Will I Be Next?” and it was report by Amnesty International and it was delivered on National Radio and in that report, it talked about drone strikes in Pakistan.  And the interviewer on the radio went into some detail, read out aspects of the report.  I went and printed a copy of the report and it talked about drone assassinations of innocent civilians in one particular province, just one portion of one province in Pakistan over an 18 month period.  Between four and 600 civilians died.  Detailed stories like Mamama Bidi, a 68 year old woman hoeing ochre in her family garden with her grandchildren.  Her husband’s a school teacher like myself.  Her sons were also school teachers and she’s hoeing in her garden on a blue sky day.  A drone drops out of the sky and two Hellfire missiles hit her and completely dismember her body all over her vegetable garden.   Her grandchildren run to find Nanny and then a second drone sweeps down and strikes the children.  Over the same period, 18 labourers who’d been doing road working all day gather for tea in their tent and two drone strikes hit their tent, all 18 including teenage boys are all killed.  When rescuers come from the nearby village to provide assistance, an additional drone strikes the rescuers, the first responders.  This report went on and on and on and these are devices owned and run and purchased and manufactured by Lockheed Martin who was in attendance at the weapons conference.

Q. So your concerns about those kind of international actions, how does that affect your actions on a day-to-day basis, is this a one-off incident for you or has there been other situations where you have felt compelled to act?

A. Yeah, as an individual I have been moved, my conscience has been moved and moved me to act. Sometimes it’s been slow, I’ve had to gather courage because it’s uncomfortable to leave my classroom and leave my small farm and do things that are problematic and so sometimes there has been a delay as I’ve gathered courage to maybe disrupt the weapons industry, to disrupt the smooth running of these war machines.  Machines that cost the planet $1.7 trillion a year.  So the weapons industry, as represented at this gathering, down the road here, 1.7 trillion, that’s $1,700 billion every year spent on weapons, and that’s just the running of the war machines.  When a specific war comes up that’ll be an extra, like the Iraq war was an extra $3 trillion and Afghanistan, significant money as well, so these are horrendous atrocities, war crimes, crimes against humanity, just by the spending of the money apart from the destructive power of the munitions, it’s actually the loss to society.

Q. So what were you hoping to achieve by being at the stadium on the 10thof October last year?

A. I was wanting to disrupt the delegates from their activities, recognising that they are responsible for so many of our worries, they’re making, personally, individually, they’re making fantastic salaries. So they’re personally getting rich from their activities and planning, selling, buying, making enormous wealth for their companies.  And so as a Catholic, a Christian activist, as a humanitarian, I wanted to disrupt this because my conscience would not let me just stay home and sleep easily in my bed while there’s something happening in my town.  I can’t do much about Iraq right now or Syria or any of the other places, but when there’s something happening in my own backyard all my excuses don’t stack up, I have to get involved.

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Come to court next week! ✊

We’re back in court next week!

Peace activists Adi and Gary were arrested at last year’s Weapons Expo blockade at the Westpac Stadium. They’re accused of obstructing a public way, for their part in standing up against the arms dealers and warmongers and will go through a three day trial from Monday 17th – Wednesday 19th at Wellington District Court.

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We’ll be there in solidarity and you can join us! Here’s what you could do:

  • Meet outside Wellington District Court at 9am on Monday 17th for a show of solidarity with Adi and Gary, and as a show of resistance against the arms trade.
  • Come along to the hearings themselves – they’ll run from 10am on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday at Wellington District Court.
  • Join us at lunchtime – 1pm on Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday at Wellington District Court. Feel very free to bring along some kai to share (vegan baking especially welcome!). We MAY move to another location at lunchtime, so keep an eye on our Twitter page for updates.
  • Send us an email or Facebook message of solidarity to Adi and Gary – we’ll pass them on.
  • If you’d like to chip in some cash for court or our other work, you’re very welcome to! Here are our account details: Peace Action Wellington, 38-9007-0839416-00
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We are winning! The Weapons Expo is leaving Wellington!

BIG NEWS! The Weapons Expo is leaving Wellington – together we’ve run the arms dealers out of town!

The annual get-together for arms dealers and the military has been happening in our city for 20 years (except when it went to Tāmaki Makaurau in 2016 and got shut down by the awesome Auckland Peace Action crew!), so it’s a huge win for us that they no longer feel welcome in our city.

Over the years, together we’ve blocked tanks at Te Papa, stopped buses full of arms dealers heading to the Westpac Stadium, and disrupted speeches by Lockheed Martin boss by banging on the walls of the TSB Arena. Following Mayor Justin Lester’s courageous decision to ban them from Council venues last year, we think it’s likely they can no longer find a place in our city to do their dirty deals. We’re so proud to have achieved this with everyone who came and stood against this disgusting trade of death and destruction.

BUT it’s not over yet. The Weapons Expo is moving to Te Papaioea – Palmerston North over Halloween, from the 31st October – 1st November. This will be much less convenient for schmoozy meetings with government and the NZDF leaders, but we need to make sure it’s still impossible for them to have business as usual, while their business is still maximising murdering and maiming.

We and Auckland Peace Action are supporting newly-formed Peace Action Manawatū to stand up to the arms trade in Palmy and we hope you will too. Follow them on Facebook and Twitter to stay up to date with the plans! We’ll be organising a crew to head up to Palmy, so SAVE THE DATE if you want to come along and make this Halloween really scary for the arms dealers. In the mean time enjoy this celebration mashup video from Weapons Expo protests 2015-2017.

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Nakba Day Resources

Here is a bunch of free resources you can print and use on Nakba day! (Just click on the text link under the picture.)

Decorate the street, your office, home etc… and show your solidarity with Palestine and the #GreatReturnMarch on #Nakba70 from #AotearoaToPalestine

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Gaza will be free poster, Palestinian Village names and Posters of Palestinians who have been killed in the #GreatReturnMarch* were sourced from the Jewish Voice for Peace > https://jewishvoiceforpeace.org/nakba-at-70/

*There are now sadly many more names to add to this list

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Palestine Events in Wellington in May!

Show solidarity with Palestine this May! #FromAotearoaToPalestine.

Join us to support the Cultural Boycott of Israel May 14th 8.15pm at the Roxy.

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Ben Gurion, Epilouge

Help call out the Doc Edge Festival for supporting Israel!

In contravention of the Palestinian Cultural Boycott, Doc Edge Festival has taken sponsorship from the Israeli Embassy for a screening of Ben-Gurion, Epilogue.

This film screening also coincides with the 70th anniversary of the Israeli Declaration of Independence on 14 May that preceded the Nakba (‘the Catastrophe’, 15 May) where Palestinian people were ethnically cleansed from Palestine.

You can:
1) Write to the Doc Edge Fest and tell them why they shouldn’t break the boycott by showing this film, and taking money from Israel. Their email is info@docedge.nz – if you want some tips on what to write, check out the letter we sent.

2) Join us outside the Roxy at 8:15pm on Monday 14th to protest in solidarity with Palestinian people and  tell Doc Edge that it’s not ok to support apartheid. BYO own sign, warm clothes. We will have hot drinks, tunes and it’d be great to meet and talk about whats happening in Palestine.

nakba_day70Nakba Day – Tuesday May 15th

Nakba Day 2018 will mark the culmination of the ‘The Great March of Return‘ – six weeks of protest by the Palestinian people. The Israeli military has cracked down extremely hard on people during this time of protest, particularly those in Gaza, where unarmed people and people who weren’t even protesting have been shot and killed. Thousands have been injured by live fire, tear gas and rubber bullets.

Tensions will also be particularly high as the US Embassy is set to be moved to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv on the 14th May. According to Palestinian officials, this is “siding totally with Israeli annexation and Israeli cleansing of our people from Jerusalem”.

Come and say salaam aleikum to us on Tuesday for a casual lunch time solidarity action – we’ll be having some kōrero about Palestine, putting up posters, handing out zines, chalking and flying some Palestinian flags at these times:
– Cuba Mall at 12.30-1pm
– Midland Park 1.30-2pm

Wellington welcomes Palestinian author Dr. Ramzy Baroud

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Wellington Palestine are hosting Gaza-born Palestinian author Dr. Ramzy Baroud, who is visiting Wellington as part of a world tour to launch his new book: The Last Earth: A Palestinian Story.
There is a book reading and signing, at VicBooks Kelburn Campus bookstore on May 22nd at 12pm. Then later that same day at 7pm a book launch at St Andrews on the Terrace where the author will discuss the background to the book and his views on contemporary issues facing the Palestinian liberation movement.

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