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Drop the charges!


20 August 2008

Media Release:
Drop the charges!

A rally in Aotea Square at 12noon today will call for the dropping of all charges against the 17 people arrested in the so-called anti-terror raids on October 15th last year.

The protest is part of an International Day of Action against the threat to civil liberties posed by the police surveillance and subsequent raids. This is the biggest attack on civil liberties since the regulations to defeat the wharfies in the 1951 waterfront lockout. (Protests will take place in several centres around the world by New Zealanders and overseas activists)

The nationally co-ordinated raids resulted from a massive police surveillance operation, conducted over more than a year and costing millions of dollars. The raids centred on Ruatoki in the heartland of Tuhoe where the settlement was locked down with the people terrorised and subjected to humiliating treatment from police dressed as ninjas.

It was clear from the outset that the police operation and arrests were a massive over-reaction by police. Based on a few intercepted "bullshit conversations" the police went into overdrive and the farce of the October 15th raids developed.

The police failed in their bid to lay terror charges but have continued to press charges under the Arms Act. The nature of the police evidence so far is that even if the charges succeed they would be technical breaches of the Arms Act and would result in police warnings at the most. Today's march will therefore call for all the charges to be dropped.

The protest is timed to coincide with the depositions hearing on the charges which will take place from Monday in the Auckland District Court.


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