Community celebrates cancellation of the weapons expo
Community organisers are celebrating the cancellation of the New Zealand Defence, Industry, and National Security Forum, otherwise known as the weapons expo, announced yesterday on a video posted on Auckland Peace Action’s Facebook page.
Since 2003, there has been strong opposition to the forum, which is sponsored by global arms company Lockheed Martin and hosted by the NZ Defence Industry Association, where some of the biggest war profiteers would convene to showcase their latest arms and military technology.
Other companies represented have included General Dynamics, Mas Zegrange, Beretta, and Serco.
“We were so proud to be part of the movement to shut down the war industry,” says Kate McIntyre, spokesperson for Organise Aotearoa, an organisation which joined protests against the weapons expo protests last year in Palmerston North.
Protesters have engaged in a number of non-violent direct action tactics over the years to stop delegates from entering the venue, including blocking roads and entrances, and lying under buses full of delegates.
Every year, police have escalated their presence at the weapons expo, using repressive and brutal tactics against protesters. Last year, protesters reported concussions and a broken arm caused by police brutality.
According to McIntyre, New Zealand is still a major ally of NATO and agent for American imperialism across the world. “We still have troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. We have a Defence Force that is totally unwilling to be held accountable for its international war crimes.”
“Just like with the Springbok Tour, it was everyday people coming together, making sure delegates couldn’t get into the venue to go about their business of war profiteering, that drove these death dealers out of New Zealand.”
Video on Auckland Peace Action’s Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/akpeaceaction/videos/1185202451667136/?q=auckland%20peace%20action&epa=SEARCH_BOX
Newshub coverage of weapons expo in 2017: https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=318891225532368
Spinoff, The Weapons Expo isn’t an arms fair? Pull the other one: https://thespinoff.co.nz/society/24-10-2018/the-weapons-expo-isnt-an-arms-fair-pull-the-other-one/
NZDF war crimes, Afghan villagers pull out of Operation Burnham inquiry: https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/political/392295/afghan-villagers-pull-out-of-operation-burnham-inquiry