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Wellingtonians Say "No War on Iraq"

Wellingtonians Say "No War on Iraq" – Media Release – 12.12.02

An ad hoc group of Wellington organisations and individuals has come together in opposition to any new war on Iraq. Local activists and grass roots groups, unions, political parties, students, artists and entertainers have been meeting fortnightly – hosted by and facilitated by local peace group Peace Action Wellington. This disparate group has come together out of grave concern, in the spirit of positive, proactive and peaceful protest, to strategise a campaign and organise local actions under the banner "No War on Iraq".

This Saturday December 14 will see the two latest events in the ongoing campaign – the Parade for Peace and an all ages gig featuring local and national acts.

Parade for Peace: The Parade for Peace, on Saturday December 14, has key themes of "No War on Iraq," "No Blood for Oil" and "Not in my Name". The Parade will articulate further messages of humanitarianism and solidarity with the people of Iraq, peace and opposition to war.

The Parade will gather at Glover Park in the central city at 12 noon and progress through Cuba and Manners Malls and down Willis Street and Lambton Quay with live music from Brass Razoo, street theatre performers and the passing out of flowers, stickers and information leaflets. The Parade will end at Midland Park in front of the offices of the Mobil oil company.

Speakers include Margaret Mayman of Saint Andrews on the Terrace, Jill Ovens (representing Unions), Don Carson of the Wellington Palestine Group, Sue Kedgley of the Green Party, Edwina Hughes of Peace Movement Aotearoa, and celebrated Iraqi poet Emad Jabbar. An open microphone will also be made available.

Also on Saturday 14 December is the No War on Iraq all ages gig featuring All For Nothing, This Night Creeps, Brubeck, The Minimals and Hung Jury - from 8:30pm, Irish Society Hall, Fifeshire Ave (off Cambridge Terrace, by the Basin Reserve). Entry is $5 with larger donations encouraged as all proceeds are being sent to the Sinibad Primary Health Clinic in Basra, Iraq.

A good turnout for these events is anticipated. The Parade for Peace and all ages gig have this week received front page coverage from the Contact and Cook Strait Times newspapers and airplay on Access Radio, as well as advertising on local radio community noticeboards.

Extensive public education in the form of weekly information stalls in Cuba and Manners Malls, Newtown, Porirua and Petone; weekly peace vigils at the Cenotaph (Thursday's 5-6pm); poster campaigns; and broad spectrum community outreach has complimented and built on the work of local, national and international peace and anti-war movements that have been growing since the US attacks on Afghanistan launched the 'war on terror' in October 2001.

The No War on Iraq group is concerned to create public space for engagement on the issues, to provide positive gestures for peace and a strong voice of protest.

Lyall Bay resident and Peace Action Wellington member Dick Keller says "Iraq has been victimised by 10 years of sanctions which have devastated the people while leaving Saddam Hussein and his elite relatively untouched. Iraq has been singled out for its weapons of mass destruction, though they are among the weakest of those countries which have succumbed to the temptation to possess them, by those who continue to build such weapons themselves. A war on Iraq would destabilise the entire region and set conditions which would likely result in more clandestine violence and more state military violence. This cannot be allowed to happen and we wish to say 'no new war on Iraq', 'no blood for oil' and 'not in my name.'"

Public Contact: Peace Action Wellington, peacewellington@hotmail.com; 382 8129; PO Box 9314, Marion Square, Wellington.

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