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Criminal Justice Activists Support Auckland Pride Board

Criminal Justice Activists Join Community Support for Auckland Pride Board

People Against Prisons Aotearoa (PAPA) offers its congratulations to the Auckland Pride community, which at a Special General Meeting last night rejected a motion to remove its board. The vote was called by a group opposed to Pride’s decision to ask the New Zealand Police not to march in uniform. The Auckland Pride community voted overwhelmingly, both in person and through proxy votes, that they had confidence in the current board.

“It must be clear to everyone that the Auckland Pride community is concerned with police violence. This vote ratified that the people want the repoliticisation of Pride, not just a hollow celebration of state and corporate power. We are proud to be a part of that call,” says the organisation’s spokesperson, Emilie Rākete.

Responding to allegations made both at the meeting and in the media, Rākete dismissed claims that PAPA had orchestrated a conspiracy.

“We are a community organisation which works with incarcerated people to address human rights abuses, runs a national penpal network, and organises conflict resolution sessions. We have offered our opinion, that Pride can be an opportunity to hold the Police accountable for the violence they deal out year after year, and it turns out that opinion was widespread. The last refuge of the defeated and the repudiated is to fantasise about a conspiracy. These people will need to learn to recognise a popular movement.”

According to the Tactical Options Research Reports, annual statistics compiled by the Police which track their use of violence, Māori are currently 7.7x more likely than Pākehā to be beaten, pepper sprayed, tasered, shot, or mauled by an attack dog. This disproportionality has increased each year, growing from 7.1x in 2014. In 2014 the Police first marched in uniform in the Auckland Pride Parade.

“The decision of the Pride Board reflects the deep concerns our community has about police brutality. For years now, we have accepted the strategy of ‘let the police march, maybe things will work out’. Every single year, the cops release statistics showing that police brutality got worse. The community does not have to accept this failed, useless strategy any longer.”

“PAPA’s position is that the New Zealand Police force is an institutionally racist organisation, full of spin about diversity but relentlessly violent in practice. As a compromise on our part, and as an invitation to prove us wrong, we invite the New Zealand Police to reduce the racist disproportionality evidenced in Tactical Options Research data by 10% on the previous year. If the New Zealand Police manages to brutalise Māori only 6.93x more than Pākehā in 2019, we will not oppose their application to the Pride Board.”

ENDS

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