Arrests at Peace Action Wellington
Photographs by Olexander Barnes
Over twenty protestors were arrested between ten thirty and eleven this morning at a protest at the New Zealand Defence Industry Association conference.
The Peace Action Wellington protest began at eight o’clock this morning. As the opening speech of the conference at eleven grew closer tensions rose outside the TSB arena on Wellington’s waterfront.
Protestors attempted to physically block entrance to the conference and shouted at attendees attempting to enter through the front entrance. There was another entrance at the back of the TSB arena that some attendees appeared to also be using to enter the conference.
A large group of protesters was arrested at roughly ten thirty five and then police targeted individuals from the protest lines including Peace Action Wellington member Valerie Morse who opened the protest earlier in the day.
The police presence was high with dozens of uniformed police officers supported by plain clothes officers in stab vests. Venue security personnel were also present.
After the flurry of arrests an angry mood descended over the protest but it remained non-violent. Music was played from an impressive portable speaker and consultation took place between the remaining protestors.
At eleven o’clock the protest moved around to city side of the TSB arena and proceeded to attempt to disrupt the opening speeches of the conference inside with noise. Brass instruments, improvised drums, banging on the wall and singing all combined in a wall of sound.
The police presence remained high around the side of the wall but officers were beginning to leave the scene. The protest is planned to last for the rest of the day and return tomorrow.
There have been reports on the Peace Action Wellington Twitter feed of more arrests very recently.