INDEPENDENT NEWS

Activists Bemused And Angry After Police Attack

Published: Sun 14 Sep 2003 01:12 PM
Activists Bemused And Angry After Police Attack
Activists are demanding an explanation for the arrest of at least seven people following a small and peaceful demonstration in Wellington today.
Police made the arrests as a demonstration, organised by Peace Action Wellington, ended outside MP Marian Hobbs’ office in Willis Street. About thirty people attended the protest against the Labour government’s willingness to deploy troops overseas to gain leverage in trade negotiations. The protest began with street theatre in Manners Mall and moved to the Minister’s electorate office around midday.
“The arrests came as a complete surprise as nothing remotely illegal had been going on,” said activist Mark Eden who was present during the arrests.
“Police appeared to have targeted the main organisers. There was a unusually high level of policing, including the Strategic Response Group (SRG), right from the beginning.”
“When the SRG turns up you know there’s going to be arrests – regardless of whether anybody on a demo does something illegal.”
“That particular unit has arrested scores of people at demos over the last few years, resulting in only a handful of convictions for minor offences. Why is so much police energy going into policing non-violent protest?” says Eden

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