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Drop the Charges! Global Day of Action

Media Release:

Drop the Charges! Global Day of Action From:

October 15th Solidarity Date: 25 August 2008

Global Day of Action Saturday 30 August “Many people believe that since the terrorism charges were not successfully laid by police following the State Terror Raids in October 2007 that the case is closed. That is not correct, charges are proceeding” said October 15th Solidarity spokesperson Peter Steiner. Demonstrations and protests are being planned around the world for the global day of action to drop the charges against the 20 people arrested in the nationwide State Terror Raids of 15 October 2007. In Wellington, there will be a rally and march starting at 12 noon at 128 Abel Smith Street. In Auckland, there is a protest starting at 12 noon in Aotea Square.

Why have a day of action? “The day of action immediately precedes the start of the deposition hearing in Auckland on 1 September. It is an opportunity for us to remind people that the case is on-going and demand that the charges be dropped” said Peter Steiner.

Why support the call to ‘Drop the Charges’? “The charges against the 20 people are racially and politically motivated charges aimed at people who were seen by police as supporting Tino Rangatiratanga and Te Mana Motuhake o Tuhoe. The charges are what are left following the failure of the police to bring terrorism charges. In effect, they are trying to salvage some credibility for their actions in raiding over 60 homes and terrorizing the entire community of Ruatoki.”

“You don’t need to look very far back into the history of New Zealand to see the brutality used by the State to silence Maori calls for sovereignty and self-determination. Parihaka, Maungapohatu, Takaparawhau (Bastion Point), Pakaitore (Moutoa Gardens), are familiar names in this nation’s history of State violence to Māori resistance. It is not necessary to delve very far to see the tactics used by the State to silence dissent: the 1913 Great Strike, the 1951 Lockout and the 1981 Tour are poignant examples. We must remember these.”

“The desire for Tino Rangatiratanga and Te Mana Motuhake is not terrorism. They are long-standing aspirations that have never been extinguished by the Treaty of Waitangi or colonisation. The assertion of Tino Rangatiratanga does not require the consent of the crown. It is the right of all iwi and hapu to govern in a way that they believe appropriate on their land.”

“That is what this case is about. It is not about terrorism” said Mr Steiner.

“The 20 defendants have suffered considerable and sustained emotional, physical and financial punishment by the crown in the 10 months since their initial arrests. This punishment must end and the charges must be dropped.”

What is happening? There are demonstrations and actions being planned around the globe including Australia, the US and Germany. Listings for protests in other cities can be found at www.October15thSolidarity.info


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