Peace Action Wellington

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Peace Action Wellington (PAW) is an organisation in Wellington, New Zealand, that campaigns for peace, justice and self determination.

History[edit]

The group was founded in 2001 from a series of meetings of Wellington-based peace, social justice, human rights, women's and union groups that were called by Peace Movement Aotearoa in response to the invasion of Afghanistan following the 11 September attacks in the United States. The group was established to promote peaceful, instead of violent, responses to conflict. It later opposed the 2003 invasion of Iraq, and played a local role in the New Zealand anti-war movement's opposition to the war, organising several nationwide protests.[1] PAW has called for the New Zealand Government to reveal the actions of the SAS soldiers fighting under US command in Afghanistan.[2]

The group has also organised protests against the annual arms industry fair held at Te Papa, along with Peace Movement Aotearoa, for self-determination in Palestine, Aceh and West Papua, and against the New Zealand Government restricting human rights as part of the "war on terror".[3]

On 25 April 2007, PAW members took part in a demonstration at the dawn ceremony for ANZAC Day to protest against the New Zealand military's involvement in wars and occupations in Afghanistan, the Solomon Islands and Timor Leste.[4] Two banners were held and two New Zealand flags were burnt, resulting in two arrests. The charges were later thrown out by the Supreme Court, in a precedent-setting case in which ceremony attendees were compared to the Ku Klux Klan.[5][6][7][8]

In 2014 and 2015 PAW again focused on ANZAC Day. This was in response to the Government's suggestion of an ANZAC force which would be sent to the war with ISIS in Syria. At the same time massive amounts of energy and money was being invested in commemorations of the centennial of the invasion of the Gallipoli peninsula in Turkey. The group felt that the centennial was being used to promote the military and build support for another overseas deployment of NZ troops.[9]

In 2015 PAW also held a campaign against the arms industry fair which was held in the TSB arena[10], a Wellington City Council owned venue. A petition was presented to the city council and when the chair of the council committee dismissed it plans began for a blockade of the TSB arena. At the protests on the 17th and 18 November there was a human blockade to prevent people getting into the venue. 27 arrests were made. PAW spokesperson Valerie Morse criticised the police for their allegedly violent response.[11][12]All charges were dropped over a year later. Spokesperson Emma Cullen said "Their (police) evidence was flimsy. From the first day and the first witness their case started to crumble."[13] Pressure from Peace Action Wellington led to Wellington mayor Justin Lester banning the weapons expo from all Wellington City Council venues.[14]

In mid-May 2018, Peace Action Wellington and Auckland Peace Action called for the Documentary Edge Festival to drop screenings of the Israeli film Ben Gurion, Epilogue as part of its endorsement of the Palestinian–led Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.[15] On 14 May, Peace Action Wellington protested outside Wellington's Roxy Cinema and were assaulted by cinema-goers.[16][17] The protesters also reportedly brought fake bombs in an attempt to scare cinema goers into leaving; although the screening went ahead regardless and there was no evacuation. In response, Doc Edge Film Festival director Alex Lee rejected claims that the Ben Gurion film was propaganda and stated that the Auckland film screening would go ahead despite warnings of further protests by local Palestinian solidarity groups.[18] The film's director Yariv Mozer urged the protesters to watch the film instead of boycotting it.[19]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Archive: International Week of Action Against War, 13 to 22 February 2003 Reports and photos from Aotearoa New Zealand". Converge. Retrieved 11 June 2018. 
  2. ^ "Who the police were spying on". Sunday Star Times, Stuff.co.nz. 25 April 2009. Retrieved 11 June 2018. 
  3. ^ "2006 Press releases". Peace Action Wellington. Retrieved 11 June 2018. 
  4. ^ "2007 Press Releases". Peace Action Wellington. Retrieved 11 June 2018. 
  5. ^ "Anzac Day flag burning 'a right'". The Dominion Post, Stuff.co.nz. 14 August 2009. Retrieved 11 June 2018. 
  6. ^ "Court throws out flag burning charge". The Dominion Post, Stuff.co.nz. 6 May 2011. Retrieved 11 June 2018. 
  7. ^ "Valerie Morse". The Listener. 
  8. ^ Harder, Justin (2011). "Morse v Police". Auckland University Law Review. 17. 
  9. ^ "Lest We Remember: War and ANZAC Day". Peace Action Wellington. Retrieved 11 June 2018. 
  10. ^ "New report on NZ's weapons and military-related industry". Peace Action Wellington. Scoop. 12 November 2015. Retrieved 11 June 2018. 
  11. ^ Boswell, Ryan (17 November 2015). "Anti-war protesters clash with police at Wellington weapons conference". 1 News. Retrieved 11 June 2018. 
  12. ^ "Protesters arrested at Wellington defence forum". Radio New Zealand. 17 November 2015. Retrieved 11 June 2018. 
  13. ^ Irwin, Ben (23 February 2017). "All charges dropped against Wellington weapons expo protesters". Newshub. Retrieved 24 June 2018. 
  14. ^ "WCC-controlled venues spurn arms forum under mayor's watch". Stuff. Retrieved 24 June 2018. 
  15. ^ "Doc Edge Festival supporting apartheid Israel - protest". Peace Action Wellington. Scoop. 14 May 2018. Retrieved 11 June 2018. 
  16. ^ Woolf, Amber-Leigh (15 May 2018). "Person assaulted during protest over Israeli film at Wellington's Roxy Cinema". The Dominion Post. Stuff.co.nz. Retrieved 11 June 2018. 
  17. ^ "Doc Edge film interrupted in Wellington". Peace Action Wellington. Scoop. 15 May 2018. Retrieved 11 June 2018. 
  18. ^ Small, Zane (18 May 2018). "Film festival director reacts to Wellington protests". Newshub. Retrieved 11 June 2018. 
  19. ^ "Controversial director Yariv Mozer speaks to the AM Show". Newshub. 23 May 2018. Retrieved 11 June 2018. 

External links[edit]