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Resistance to Weapons Expo grows

Police break peace activist’s arm as resistance to Weapons Expo grows

6th November 2018
Peace Action Wellington

Police broke a peace activist’s arm in two places pushing her to the ground on the second day of peaceful protest against the Weapons Expo in Palmerston North.

Kerry Tankard of Hamilton is suffering from ongoing pain and limited use of her hand for daily tasks like tying her shoes and zipping up her coat. Tankard was standing on the footpath with a small group of people who were supporting an activist on the roof of a bus when the police decided to push them. Tankard was roughly pushed to the ground and knew immediately that her arm was broken.

“They were all pretty rough with us but this one cop pushed Kerry really hard and she fell down. At that point most of the cops backed off and a bunch of us tried to help her up. But Kerry shouted "Don’t move me, I think they broke my rist.” said Sandani Wijetunge.

Police continued to forcibly move the group after they were aware that Tankard’s wrist was probably broken and an ambulance had been called.

“We tried to create a circle around her but the police were shouting at us and telling us to move. Kerry insisted that she was in pain and did not want to be moved by anyone who doesn't know first aid. The police didn’t listen and forcibly picked her up and moved her to the other side of the line of cops as she was screaming. I didn’t see much after that.

The ambulance came to get her within 10 minutes. It was really brutal and pointless moving her when she was injured like that.” Wijetunge said.

The broken arm was not the only injury police caused over the course of the peaceful protest against the Weapons Expo. Police also concussed another woman as they pushed her to the ground on Wednesday.

Peace Action Wellington spokesperson Alex Davis said “Police budgeted some $250,000 and 180 police for this event. That is a small army. They acted as overzealous private security guards for weapons dealers who had little regard for the safety or rights of protesters.”

“We know that the police investigation will exonerate the officer. The police repeatedly fail to hold themselves accountable for their violence. Last year the IPCA responded to sexual harassment complaints by suggesting that women were walking into officers hands with their breasts. There is no justice to be found in these organisations.” Davis said.

“While we were protesting, the weapons manufactured by companies inside the Weapons Expo were being used to kill people around the world. War starts in places like Aotearoa where these tools are sold. New Zealanders would be horrified to know of our complicity in the killing of civilians around the world - we have to shut down the weapons trade.”

“We need to understand that major weapons companies don’t just do business with the military. The NZ Police also have an ongoing contract with global arms dealer Lockheed Martin. The so-called “security and defence” industry has infected our society and public services, and promulgates a dangerous narrative of fear and insecurity that is good for their war business.” said Davis.


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