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Wellington Rally For Peace In The Middle East

Afghanistan – Palestine – Israel – Iraq.

Saturday April 20, 12pm, Cuba Mall.

The “war on terrorism” is fuelling violence and bloodshed in the Middle East. The Rally for Peace is calling for an end to all violence.

The Rally will focus on:

Afghanistan: even as world attention is drawn by appalling new conflict, war continues in Afghanistan; with on-going attacks by the US-led coalition civilian deaths and injuries continue.

Thousands of Wellingtonians have protested against the war on Afghanistan since October 2001 and signed the Peaceful Resolution Petition to parliament, as well as continuing to support the weekly vigils for peace.

Israel and Palestine: the Israeli offensive in the Occupied Palestinian Territories has been condemned by world leaders. The public outcry in Wellington has been immediate and strong. Peaceful protests at the Israeli embassy and the Cenotaph have drawn up to 250 people to each demonstration and attracted significant media attention.

Iraq: the US Government is planning a new war on the people of Iraq – already dying in their thousands every month from punitive sanctions and ongoing bombing by US and British warplanes.

The Rally is calling for: a withdrawal of New Zealand military support for the “war on terrorism”; no New Zealand support for a new attack on the people of Iraq; peace and justice in the Middle East in accordance with international human rights conventions.

Speakers include representatives of the Wellington Palestine Group, Peace Movement Aotearoa, the Iraq Sanctions Medical Alert Group, International Physicians For the Prevention of Nuclear War, the Alliance Party, the Green Party.

The Rally is intended to create public space for Wellingtonians to express themselves – an open mike will be available.

The Rally is further intended as a positive gesture for peace. There will be music and flowers. Crucially the rally will focus on what we can do to create and support peace initiatives, reiterating links between Wellington, New Zealand and the global village.

Part of the International Day of Action to Stop War and End Racism, the Wellington rally has been co-ordinated by Peace Action Wellington. There will be a corresponding event in Auckland, a national convergence of protest in the United States centring in Washington, and global solidarity actions. Edwina Hughes of Peace Movement Aotearoa, the Wellington-based national peace organization, describes the key message of the rally, “The killing has to stop!”

Wet weather venue: Central Library Mezzanine Floor Meeting Room. Press Contact: Simon Delahunt, Peace Action Wellington, (04) 387 3252. Peace Movement Aotearoa: (04) 382 8129.

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