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PAN: Turn Te Mana Around

PAN: Turn Te Mana Around. No NZ Support For Bush's Wars

Around 300 citizens marched in central Christchurch today to show their opposition to the continued involvement of New Zealand in US imperial wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. They joined thousands of people marching around the world in a Global Day of Action to highlight the disastrous consequences of the Iraq war that started one year ago.

“Our own government has played a role in supporting the occupation. Peace Action Network demand the return of New Zealand¡¯s troops and frigates, as well as a commitment that New Zealand will no longer support US wars of aggression.”

“The recent deployment of 50 SAS troops and the frigate Te Mana to the Gulf only encourages the US to try it all again” says Peace Action Network spokesperson Claire Dann.

The march also called for an end to the US occupation and self determination for the people of Iraq and Afghanistan.

The march started at Christchurch Museum, weaving its way through City Mall to the Square where the crowd listened to speeches from Peter Beck, the Dean of Christchurch Cathedral, Ghazala Anwar, lecturer in Islamic Studies and Bob Leonard of the Anti Bases Campaign. Hassam Razzaq, President of the Christchurch/Iraq Friendship Society and 15 year old Huzan Al Jabawe provided an Iraqi perspective.

Participants chanted ¡®anti-Bush, anti-Blair, anti-war everywhere!¡¯ and held up slogans such as ¡®stop mad cowboy disease¡¯.

Protestors pointed to the actions of Paul Bremer, the US viceroy in Iraq who has imposed a free market economy, ordered mass privatisation of Iraqi state assets and signed contracts with American corporate interests, all before the Iraqi people could have their say in an election. As such privatisation and foreign ownership is outlawed under Iraq¡¯s Constitution, this is a breach of the Hague Regulations of 1907 that state that an occupying power must respect “unless absolutely prevented, the laws in force in the country”. This international convention is ratified by the United States.

Peace Action Network call this a profound insult to the principles of democracy and self determination.

Other anti-war rallies were held across the country and around the world, including Auckland, Wellington and Dunedin.

“Bush and Blair claimed that the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq were necessary in order to combat terrorism. The tragic events in Madrid show these invasions led to greater terrorist threats.”

“We call on Helen Clark to turn Te Mana around” said Claire Dann.

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