Formed a few weeks after 9/11, Peace Action Wellington (PAW) was Wellington's most active anti-war group mobilising 100s of people during the early stages of “Operation Enduring Freedom” (the invasion of Afghanistan in October 2001) and then 1000s of people for protests against the invasion of Iraq. Already in those early years, PAW activists protested against the New Zealand Defence Industry Association (NZDIA) conference, held annually at Te Papa (NZ's national museum). A banner drop inside the museum in 2003, was followed by a rally of about 40 protesters the following year.
In 2005, PAW stepped up its campaign against the NZDIA and the conference being held at Te Papa and 80 people, including a strong contingent of the 'Aotearoa Revolutionary Clown Army', had a sit-in outside the museum's main entrance for several hours while the war profiteers were meeting inside. 20 activists were arrested that day, some for trespass, others for obstructing one of the army's Light Armoured Vehicles (LAV) and some on ridiculous assault charges. Needless to say, the police didn't get a single conviction out of all the arrests!
In 2006, the protest against the NZDIA conference was PAW's major focus for the year, organising several public meetings explaining the role of the NZ weapon's industry, street theatre in central Wellington, posters all across the city, a fake Te Papa website, radio interviews and blockading training. The goal was simple really - to shut down Te Papa.
Add PAW call-out Add Brooklyn arrests
FROM INDYMEDIA 17.10.2006:
Weapons Conference: Peace Action Wellington causes major disruption
Between two and three hundred demonstrators caused major disruption for four hours to the annual forum of the New Zealand Defence Industry Association (NZDIA) held at Te Papa today.
The demonstration, once it reached the Te Papa forecourt, then occupied the only gap between the police fence and the building. Scuffles broke out between the demonstrators and the police as Te Papa was gradually surrounded by more and more blockades; eventually eight blockades were put in place and Te Papa was shut to the public for the rest of the day. Music was provided at the blockade on the main entrance by the Brass Razoo Solidarity Band, Jessie Moss, Ryan Prebble and the awesome Imon Star. Food Not Bombs kept those in the blockade and surrounding them fed and watered.
A first for Indymedia Aotearoa - a timeline!
Inspired by the work of UK 1)ndymedia, the AIMC editorial collective decided to try something new for this protest. We obviously knew that there would be a serious attempt to blockade and shut down Te Papa. PAW called for a demonstration to start at 12noon on the first day of the conference so we decided to do a timeline with one 2)ndymedia activist spending all afternoon glued to his computer and cellphone in Auckland, receiving txt messages from the 'battelfield' (a.k.a. the Te Papa forecourt). Several activists were texting him frantically for the duration of the protest. While the timeline was not useful for people on the protest that day, cheaper internet connections for cellphones have made 3)ndymedia timelines a really valuable resources during mass direct actions. Watch this space…
Timeline: Day One, Tuesday 17 Oct 2006 - Protests against the weapons conference
Early morning - A banner was put up at a roundabout near the airport reading “War profiteers get out”.
08:30 - Around 20 people are protesting at Te Papa. There are currently no barricades up but 10 cops were already there aswell as 10 Te Papa security guards. The group left at 09:30 after yelling at many war profiteers. No arrests.
09:45 - We won in the High Court! The illegal bail conditions of the 12 people arrested on Sunday were changed just then.
12:38 - 200 to 300 protesters. Front entrance and carpark entrance of Te Papa blocked. Scuffle at start.
12:52 - Another entrance blocked. Lots of security
13:16 - The Police have just made an attempt to shift the main front blockade.
13:18 - Blockades still up. Museum shut. Food Not Bombs cooking. All good.
13:19 - They're trying to get some VIP Army guy out but can't!!
13:21 - Cops just tried to push people away at front but weren't successful 13:25 - A whole bus load of tourists just boarded their bus again and left because they couldn't get into the museum.
13:26 - Te Papa is now closed to the public.
13:43 - Protest all still going on. No arrests. Pushing cops. Music now going
13:49 - People are in around 7 groups all around Te Papa
13:58 - Still no arrests. 'We've got the whole F*ckin place shut down!'
13:59 - Imon Star is doing some freestyle hip hop. Blue sky and rather warm.
14:08 Te Papa now completely shut down. No one in or out. Police retreating and regrouping. All delegates stuck inside.
14:12 Police inside trying to figure out how to get delegates out. The conference has been shut down Reinforce barricades!
14:21 Cop g 719 just punched someone in the shoulder. Another report just in says the same cop punched someone in the face.
14:23 line of cops to right side.
14:28 Two delegates stopped from leaving
14:37 Cops pushing against people to get delegates out. People pushing back like mad. One camera smashed. Food scraps thrown at cops.
14:40 Around 40 cops. 70 protesters left.
14:47 Te Papa shut down. Still about 40 Police. All entrances blockaded. No arrests. Some hardcore Police actions at the start but they lost. Police tried to move fences forward but lost against a whole lot of people.
15:23 Big scuffle but we held the line. Blockades still going. Cops quite brutal. Someone nearly got a cop's hat. Good chanting. Lots of people.
15:31 One demonstrator just driven into by car at fast speed. Thankfully he wasn't hurt. Lots of keen people around.
15:34 Reports that some delegates have gone to the airport to fly home.
15:56 Numbers have dwindled. 40 people now at the front. No arrests. All good.
16:07 Leaving Te Papa as one big group. Fantastic mood. Great crowd. Happy faces
16:17 Someone managed to expropriate a cop hat!
16:25 One cop hat was taken and then the cops tried to arrest someone in Pigeon Park but didn't end up arresting them.
16:35 All over. People were batoned and the cops had tasers with them.
2006: A victory Insert Torrance's article on the blockades.
The NZDIA never returned to Te Papa - their forums in 2007/8 were held at the Duxton Hotel instead. Protests took place both years.
Day 2 started with an early morning protest at Te Papa followed by protests against Rakon shareholders. Activists were chased around town by a hord of cops who wanted to arrest people. At 6pm 40 protestors were back at Te Papa. Two protesters were arrested.