Saturday 27 October 2007

March for Freedom- thousands march

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Watch TV3 news report here

Thousands of protestors have rallied in a 'national day of action', opposing the so-called 'anti terrorism' raids, and calling for those arrested to be immediately released on bail.

Among the crowd of a thousand in Auckland was Rongomai Bailey who is one of the handful of accused people already on bail.

Johann Smith is passionate about his country, its people and their rights.

And so the Wairoa local travelled more than 500 kilometres to Auckland to help lead the march against the police raids.

The rally attracted more than a thousand protesters - Maori, pakeha, ethic groups, young, old, those with money and power, and those without.

Together they marched - or in some cases wheeled - to Mount Eden prison, where most of those arrested are being held on remand.

The crowd called for no charges to be laid under the terrorism suppression act against the 17 arrested and for the act to be dumped.

Rongomai Bailey was among those who were arrested.

He was allowed to address the crowd, but for legal reasons we can't identify him.

In the garden city, protestors took a more civil approach..

Protestors are now drumming up support around the world - a rally is being held in london in a few hours.

TVNZ News- Anger grows over police raids- watch video here
Oct 27, 2007 8:30 PM

Eleven days on and the anger at the so-called terror raids is continuing to mount.

Saturday saw another round of nationwide protests and instead losing interest in the cause, numbers are growing and emotions are running high.

"We've got a very strong message here from the people of Auckland - from people right throughout New Zealand, and the world," says protester John Minto.

A large crowd gathered in Auckland's city centre and marched to Mount Eden jail, where most of those arrested are being held on remand.

Along the way there was a show of solidarity for Tuhoe Maori and Tame Iti, one of those still in custody.

It was the same message in Wellington, where numbers were also up on last week's protest. They echoed the call for unity.

"By picking out Tuhoe; by picking out Ureweras, it is a kind of strategy to divide different communities - something we need to be careful about and try to stick together," says protester, Dr Maria Bargh.

There were also protests in Christchurch but this day of action isn't just confined to New Zealand. Demonstrations are also planned for Melbourne and London.

They want the terrorist laws abandoned. One man now out on bail, Rongamai Bailey, says their colleagues should be released now.

"I'm not a terrorist and the guys in Mount Eden are not terrorists," says Bailey.

Until police show their hand this issue is unlikely to go away.

"The government will ignore this movement at its peril," says Minto.

Kia Ora

1000 plus people marched in Aucks today in support of Tuhoe, Civil
Rights and activists and community workers arrested and harrassed around the
country today. Special guests were two bus loads of Tuhoe people who had
travelled up from the Urewera's to honour people with their presence. Many people
from the community were represented in the march, Maori, P.I, Pakeha, working
class, middle classes, academics and students and activists from a range of
The march was peaceful and law abiding, if energetic and righteously
angry at times. The Police adopted a non confrontational approach, and numbers
were lower on the march itself than i have seen in a few years. Many fine
activists and people led chants, waved banners and flags, and the Tuhoe flags
blew strong in the Aucks breeze. the march was well organised, and led by people
like John Minto, Mike Treen from GPJA, and Simon Ooosterman the Anarchist bro,
but the march itself was led by Tuhoe, and they led well with great chants,
flags, spirit, courage, and humility, good people trying to help their
community out.

People got out of the way of the Tuhoe people so they could lead the
demo at various parts of the march, cos they had been hurt the hardest by the
raids a few weeks back.
The march left downtown Auckland before arriving at Mount Eden Prison.
Speakers at the Mount included Tuhoe spokespeople, Civil Liberties people, Green
M.P Keith Locke, Solidarity Union rep Joe Carolan, and Maori Trade Unionist
and activist Helen Te Hira, and one of the arrested activists who had been
In other words, Te Tino issues, civil rights issues, trade union
issues, US imperialism issues ( related to NZ becoming a flunky to the US via the
new Terrorism Amendment Act) and the terrorism by Police of Maori
communities were all raised as issues. Simon Ooosterman spoke about what the crowd of
people could do in order to support the prisoners in practical ways, visits,
letters, messages, solidarity in practical ways. A letter written by Tame Iti
was read by one of his Tuhoe whanauanga was read to the crowd and drew a warm
applause of solidarity. It was marvellous to see so many young people, older
experienced activists, and community people from both Aucks and Tuhoe marching in a
real spirit of Unity respect, and solidarity. Keith Locke made special
mentions of the fine work the Maori Party had done on this issue, as well as his
own Party, and that work is ongoing as the Terrorism suppression Amendment Bill is
not law yet. Keith spoke about how it is Tuhoe, more so than activists, who
had been victimised by Police actions a few weeks ago. This session was held at
the Probation service offices, opposite the old Mt Eden prison.

The marchers then marched to the actual new remand Prison, where the
political prisoners are being held, and stood outside the prison where people
chanted for the freedom of the imprisoned people. Prison guards manned the roof of
the prison, perimeters of the grounds, while Police guarded the front gate.
Cops on the gate may have numbered perhaps 10. But the people was cool, like
the cops, which was the right move in order to challenge the state under the
circumstances ( by building mass, open people pressure). Another series
of speeches was delivered to the crowd at this point. John Minto said
people should look at the Global Justice and Justice Auckland ( GPJA) for a
newsletter people can sign up to, online that will give people info about new
demonstrations, new pickets, fundraising, and ongoing support for all
people involved. Check out the GPJA website for details, and for the daily
newsletter John Minto, Gereldene Peters and Mike Treen are producing.

Jimmy O'Dea the older Irish brother who got his home busted into on Thursday up at the
Point spoke well about his experience. One of the Tuhoe bro's who got bail
spoke and thanked the crowd for supporting their whanaunga and community and
received a warm applause.
The most moving, and powerful speech came from Tame Iti's son, who
spoke about his father, his fathers vision for an inclusive NZ where all NZers can
mix and mingle in peace. The air was electric when Tame's son spoke, and the
brother thanked the crowd for supporting his people. Brother spoke with passion
and vision, calm and collected. After this speech was given the message was
passed to return back to the Aucks city centre. the people returning to Aucks
was less than the 1000 plus who started but that was cool. new activity is
planned, organising work is being done, the spirit of marchers and organisers is
strong, and there is a spirit in the air that people must keep organising and
fighting this Bill.

I was unable to visit the Tuhoe manuhiri at their marae in Mangere, but
i know Helen Te Hira, and fellow Maori activist Lena Henry told me they were
taking kai out to the good people of Tuhoe, after the march ended, to their
marae, so they are being looked after. All in all a good days activity, lots of
people handing out awesome leaflets, posters, and people meeting mixing and
mingling in peaceful protest. On a personal note, i met up with a bro from Ngati
Whatua, Barry Hawke, who i worked with years ago on a building project. he is
one of the sons of Grant Hawke, one of the leaders of the struggle at
Takaparawhau (Bastion Point) in 1977-1979. It was moving for me to hear Barry speak
about the need of his young Maori people to stand up and get involved. he spoke
about how the older generation had done their yards, now it was our turn. Barry
was there with some people from his Maori hostel, a mean roopu of brothers. Barry
was interested in getting more of his Ngati Whatua people involved. This
was before the march even left Aotea square, so its inspiring to see a younger
generation of Maori people activating and serving their people, to much.

i hear that Christchurch had 200 people on the demos
down there today on the same kaupapa. solidarity,

Tony Fala

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