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Maori Yesterday: Trade Unions Today?

PRESS RELEASE: SOLIDARITY UNION 4pm, Thursday 25 October

MAORI YESTERDAY: TRADE UNIONS TODAY?

Union activists say that a police raid on a 72-year old trade unionist in poor health today is part of a crackdown on all political activists.

This afternoon at 2pm, eight police cars raided the Orakei house of Jimmy O'Dea, a 72-year-old trade unionist in poor health. The house was searched under a warrant mentioning a kidnapping in the area.

Jimmy O'Dea says that when he told the police he was too old to be involved in any such thing, the police replied: "No you're not."

"Jimmy O'Dea has been a fighter for both Maori and trade union rights for decades now," said Joe Carolan, secretary of Solidarity Union.

"Jimmy helped to organise trade union support for the Bastion Point occupation in 1978.

"Despite his poor health, he's been helping organise the new Solidarity union among industrial workers in South Auckland.

"To anyone who knows Jimmy, the idea that he could be involved in a kidnapping is purely ridiculous," said Joe Carolan.

"But what is true is that Jimmy is known as a fighter for workers' rights and Maori rights. The police know him as a 'troublemaker' from way back.

"If this is a coincidence, it's a very peculiar one," said Carolan.

"We have been saying that the "anti-terror" raids of last week are an attempt to strike fear in the heart of all political activists.

"This raid on a 72-year old man in poor health just confirms what we've been saying."

ENDS

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