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Wellington peace activists in court for Weapons Expo protest

Two peace activists will face a three-day trial beginning on 17 September at Wellington District Court. Defendants Adi Leason, of the Waihopai Three, and Gary Chiles are charged with obstructing a public way. The charges were brought after a protest against the military weapons industry at the annual Weapons Expo, which was held at the Westpac Stadium in October 2017.

This year the Weapons Expo will move to Palmerston North from Wellington following successful community protests that have disrupted the weapons industry event since 2015. Resistance to the Weapons Expo is already building in Palmerston North where local government councillors last week debated whether the event clashes with their ‘Peace City’ status.

Both activists continue to be committed to protesting the Weapons Expo
and other NZ involvement in war.

“While we were protesting, the weapons manufactured by companies inside the Weapons Expo were being used to kill people around the world. War starts in places like this where these tools of death are sold. New Zealanders would be horrified to know of our complicity in the killing of civilians around the world - we have to shut down the arms trade.”

Peace Action Wellington spokesperson Alex Davis today celebrated the move of the Weapons Expo: “The fact that the organisers are moving the Weapons Expo to Palmerston North is a huge victory for us - it shows that arms dealers are no longer welcome in our capital city! Mayor Justin Lester’s decision to ban them from council venues, along with the huge community mobilisation against these warmongers has meant they’ve had to retreat to Te Papaioea, Palmerston North. We’ll be joining the resistance to the Weapons Expo this year for a Week of Peace between the 24th October - 1st November, alongside the local community in Palmerston North, who have formed a new group Peace Action Manawatū.”

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