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False victory claimed by “Free Speech Coalition”

Date: 25 July 2018

From: Auckland Peace Action

“The so-called “Free Speech Coalition” is claiming a false victory after realising that their legal challenge was fatally flawed. The group has unilaterally withdrawn their urgent court case because they realised that the case has nothing to do with free speech. They raised $90,000 to prosecute the Mayor when he had nothing to do with the decision making,” said Valerie Morse, member of Auckland Peace Action.

“This is instead a simple victory for the diverse communities of New Zealand, for racial and religious tolerance.”

“The ‘Free Speech Coalition’ is calling people who oppose racism and Islamophobia ‘thugs’ because we are not prepared to provide our public spaces to right-wing extremists to meet up and rally. Yet, it is the supporters of these fascists speakers who are threatening serious violence, not the other way around.”

“Auckland venues clearly had a contractual right to cancel the booking based on what they believed were well founded security concerns. These concerns have been borne out over the past two weeks with supporters of the two Canadian speakers making public threats to kill, rape, run over and smash two women who spoke up against them. Another person threatened our group with semi-automatic weapons.”

“We have a great history of resisting racism and injustice in this country using non-violent tactics: from pulling up survey pegs at Parihaka, to getting on the pitch during the Springbok tour, to taking to the seas to stop deep sea oil drilling. We are part of a huge movement for justice and peace - we will give no space for racists trolls in Aotearoa. We will organise anytime such racists or fascists try to come to Aotearoa New Zealand.”

“People in this country need to understand that the racist right is fundamentally violent. They have no interest in debating ideas or understanding what is going on in the world, instead they seek to spread a politics of hate: hatred of Muslims, hatred of women, hatred of gays, hatred of lesbians, hatred of transgender people, hatred of anyone who isn’t white. History shows us that those kind of politics have profoundly disturbing real life implications for people.”

“It appears that the 'Free Speech Coalition' were involved in the arrangements to bring Southern and Molyneux to Auckland. They have been unable to secure a council or private venue. Now the ratepayers of Auckland can seek costs from this coalition who preferred to raise vast sums of money to support a platform of hate speech than to stand up against racism.”


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