Five arrests at Wellington anti-war demo
by Sam Buchanan - Mon Mar 10 '03
Police made five arrests at the end of a demonstration against the looming war in Iraq in Wellington today.
About a thousand people turned up to the very noisy protest intended to target the state banquet held at parliament for the visiting Australian PM John Howard.
Calls by the New Zealand prime minister for protests to be courteous resulted in placards such as 'Howard You C**t', 'F**k War' and illustrations showing Howard kissing US arse. After an hour or so of noisemaking below the banquet hall, some of the demo waited behind a strong police presecnce for Howard to leave. Police then initiated a fracas resulting in five arrests. It is unclear what those arrested will be charged with.
Police appeared disorganised and nervous, a number of people were assaulted by police during the affray, witnesses said an elderly man, believed to be a diplomat heading for his car, was knocked to the ground. Other people were punched and shoved by police as they moved protestors in apparently random directions.
Police were unable or unwilling to say who was in charge of the police operation.