Approximately 150 protesters braved miserable weather to express their disgust at Condollezza Rice’s presence in their city. Many wore orange overalls depicting victims of U.S. torture authorised by the empire calling for the closure of Guantanemo bay and the arrest of the war criminal. Outside government house, where the U.S. secretary of state was meeting with Helen Clarke, speeches were made and the stars and stripes set alight to the cheers of the crowd. Later in the evening it became apparent that protesters were successful in delivering their message to those inside government house with Clarke commenting on the noise being made by the peasents outside.
Individuals and speakers from various organisations took it in turn to climb up on the back of a ute carrying a loud speaker system and spoke of New Zealand’s collusion with the United States eschelon spy network, about past present and future trade driven U.S. invasions, about murder and torture in the name of “freedom”, about how it ain’t no coincidence that Condi is the only U.S. secretary of state to have an oil super-tanker named after her and about how the New Zealand government and its corporate leaders are happily assisting with all of the above.
Following a threatening pres.s. release by the ever-politically-neutral New Zealand Police, Auckland University Students Association withdrew the $5,000 reward it had offered any student who could manage to carry out a successful citizen’s arrest of the untouchable secretary of state. The Students Association at Victoria University in Wellington responded by doubled the reward, offering $10,000. Despite several hopefuls remembering to take their hand-cuffs along just in case, Police unsurprisingly refused to do their jobs.
So, what does this mean for NZ-US trade relations anyway?
The fact that the New Zealand press were allowed to ask only TWO questions gives us an idea of what a PR farce the press conferance at government house was, but if you take a look at this ‘United States Trade Representative’ website and then you click on New Zealand up comes a document called ‘2008 National Trade Estimate Report on Foreign Trade Barriers’. Funnily enough, here you can find a list of barriers to U.S. trade that the U.S. government would prefer not to be in place. A Free Trade Agreement with the U.S. would likely remove these barriers. Take a look at the document to get an idea at what’s at stake straight from the horses mouth. Its frightening what information they give us about this, just imagine what they’re not saying.
Images : [ 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 ] Video : [ TV3 Video Coverage ]
[ Aotearoa IMC Article ] [ 1,424 Articles Mentioning Reward for Citizens arrest ]
[ fightftas.org ] [ Protestoers brave storm & police to get message heard ]
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is arriving in Auckland this Friday night and will be having meetings in Auckland on Saturday with Winston Peters, Helen Clark and John Key among others. She will also be meeting with the US-NZ Council who will be trying to push for a free trade deal between New Zealand the United States. A free trade agreement will not be in either country’s best interest and we must continue to oppose the neoliberal free trade agenda.
She provides the soft public face for a host of aggressive, immoral policies to expand the US empire. For example she has fronted policies resulting in the death of one million Iraqi civilians in return for US control of Iraq’s oil resources and was a key player in setting up Guantanamo Bay, the United State’s illegal millitary prison in on foreign soil where prisoners are tortured. She should be indicted for war crimes, not welcomed to our country.
A protest march to her state welcoming at Government House will be held to tell her that she is NOT welcome here. This will be followed by a protest from 3.15pm outside the Langham Hotel in Symonds Street where she is scheduled to meet National Party Leader John Key. There is also a $5000 reward offered by the Auckland University Students Association for any student who places Condoleezza Rice under a Citizen’s Arrest.
Saturday 26th July
1:30pm at Auckland Domain cnr Carlton Gore and Parks Roads
3:15pm outside the Langham Hotel on Symonds Streeet
Bring noise makers, placards and banners
Around 100 people marched down Queen Street to the Hilton Hotel to protest against the NZ-US Partnership Forum. The forum, which brings together representatives of the two governments as well as from major US and NZ corporations to work on tightening the economic and political links between the two nations, was moved in the last minute from the Auckland Museum to the Hilton Hotel.
The protests had begun earlier in the day with a picket at the road corner by approximately 20 people, during the time Prime Minister Helen Clark arrived at the forum. The main march began at Aotea Square at 12 noon, with protesters taking the street, setting off flares and chanting all the way to the Hilton. Upon arrival at the Forum venue, a stand-off began with the police. After a short period, a scuffle erupted when the police attempted to open one lane to allow vehicles to enter and exit the area, an attempt which succeeded despite some resistance from a number of people. Some time later the police made a decision to open the remaining lane and force the protesters onto the footpath behind plastic barriers. In the ensuing altercation, three people were arrested and several injured.
The protests highlighted a number of issues. Our World Is Not For Sale spokesperson Ryan Bodman stated that the results of a free trade agreement between the US and Australia have included “the degradation of environmental protection, particularly in relation to genetic engineering of food, the degredation of quarantine laws, an economic nightmare for small farmers and businesses, a huge increase in australia’s trade defecit with the us, reduced access to affordable Australian pharmaceuticals and threats to australian manufacturing jobs.” The same results and others can be expected if an NZ/US agreement is signed.
Links: Our World Is Not For Sale campaign | Protest Timeline | Our World Is Not For Sale Press Release | Pre-Protest Feature | Pre-Protest police repression | Protest Reports: 1 | 2 | 3
Images : 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | Video : 1 | 2 | 3
This September in Auckland a high-profile meeting, the US-NZ Partnership Forum, will further talks on creating a free trade deal between the US and NZ. President George W Bush is said to be making an appearance.
A free trade agreement would allow US corporations to sue our government for threatening their profits. It puts all of Aotearoa up for sale to US corporations. Their free trade agreement will “remove barriers” to US corporate control. Changes could include;
- Privatisation of our water, schools and hospitals.
- Removal of our environmental and public health protections.
- End of local content funding for TV and Music.
- Banning labelling of genetically engineered food.
- End to government subsidies of medicines
This is your chance to tell our government to put people and planet before profits.
Tomorrow might be too late.