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Police remove anti vivisection group from Te Papa

Wellington Animal Action

Press release

Sunday 24th October 1999

Wellington

Police remove anti vivisection group from Te Papa Museum

Police were used to remove about thirty anti vivisection protesters from the grounds of Te Papa National Museum this afternoon, and threatened to arrest anyone who did not leave the area. The protesters had gathered to draw attention to Te Papa's decision to host a vivisection conference next month, but were forced to leave the area by a large police presence.

The protest started peacefully at the main entrance of the museum, but after half an hour without incident, Te Papa management called in a dozen police to remove the group from the open space in front of Te Papa. Museum management refused to talk to the protesters and police were used to move protesters to a spot about 100 metres away from the main entrance. The activists had planned to present a letter outlining their objections, to Te Papa management but they refused to accept it.

The National Secretary of the New Zealand Anti Vivisection Society, Phil Clayton, said "Te Papa's overreaction suggests that they are highly embarrassed about hosting a vivisectors conference".

Wellington Animal Action spokesperson Mark Eden said "The grounds of Te Papa are a public place and we have a right to protest there. Why is it that christians are allowed to protest about condoms outside Te Papa, but we aren't allowed to protest about a vivisectors conference? We will not be deterred by this and our plans for a series of bigger protests when the conference starts later this month are going ahead".

Mark Eden said the police attitude was confrontational and unprofessional. "The police present at the scene refused to talk to us other than to threaten us with arrest if we didn't immediately move. The commanding officer refused to give us any identification. It seems the police were determined to cause trouble. As the protest was finishing the police told two passing teenagers they should go home rather than join the protest and then they harassed and arrested a worker at the Circa Theatre (next door to Te Papa, as he was removing some signs for a show that had just finished. A police officer accused him of stealing them, and when the worker entered the theatre to prove he did indeed work there, the officer instead arrested him for 'using offensive language'".

About the ANZCCART vivisectors conference: ANZCCART (The Australia and New Zealand Council for the Care of Animals in Research and Teaching) is an animal research industry front group set up to promote the use of animals in experiments. Anti vivisection groups from all over the country are expected to come to Wellington to protest against the ANZCCART vivisection conference on the 18th and 19th of November. This years ANZCCART conference is titled "Public Faith in Science and Agriculture" and will be focused on promoting genetic engineering and biotechnology, including animal to human transplant experiments. For internet info go to http://homepages.ihug.co.nz/~aaa/Events/Anzccart99/anzccart99.htm

For more info and comment please contact

Mark Eden (Wellington Animal Action) and Phil Clayton (NZAVS) both at (04) 385-6728


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