Wellington Scoop

Nine (or 15?) arrested at blockade of weapons expo outside Westpac Stadium

Photo: Peace Action Wellington

There were arrests today at the demonstration outside Westpac Stadium where campaigners were protesting against the Defence Industry Forum. Police said they’d arrested nine people. The demonstrators said there’d been fifteen arrests.

News from Peace Action Wellington
“It has been an amazing day of peace action in Wellington where hundreds of people successfully blockaded the entrance to the Westpac Stadium. Weapons Expo delegates were prevented from getting inside for most of the day,” said Jessie Dennis from Peace Action Wellington.

Fifteen people were arrested for minor offences in upholding the non-violent blockade, with six having been released without charge as of 5:30pm.

“The arrests are outrageous. These people are human rights defenders, and we should thank them for their work in making the world a safer and more peaceful place. We expect all of these charges will be dropped, but we will be supporting them through any court process whatever the outcome,” said Dennis.

“We are thrilled with the courage and solidarity shown by all the people who joined us today. Our action has been effective because it has directly impacted on the only thing that matters to weapons dealers: making money.

“The heavy-handed and violent actions of the police in protecting and attempting to escort delegates inside was shameful. A number of peaceful blockaders were pushed over, pushed into the road and kicked. Some injuries were sustained.

“It is the weapons dealers who are responsible for crimes against humanity, and should be held accountable for their role in making war and creating human misery. They shouldn’t be receiving protection from the police.”

Further creative peace actions will follow tomorrow.

Earlier News from Peace Action Wellington
Peace activists have gathered at the Westpac Stadium in Wellington to
blockade the annual NZDIA Weapons Expo. Around 200 people were onsite to protest the event before 7am this morning. The car ramp to the vehicle entrance was blocked off, with banners attached to people who had climbed lampposts. Police were advised that any attempt to remove the banners would result in the climbers falling.

Protesters have blocked off all entrances to the venue. The majority of delegates have been unable to access the venue as of 11am.

“We’re here to stay. We think it’s totally unethical that New Zealand plays host to a Weapons Expo, and we’re not leaving until the weapons dealers do,” said Peace Action Wellington spokesperson Jessie Dennis. “The Weapons Expo is a trade fair for some of the biggest arms companies in the world. The delegates attending would have us believe that the products on sale and the deals being done at the Expo are somehow benign. But make no mistake, these are weapons and military hardware that play their part in the global war machine.”

Six protesters have been violently arrested. Five of the protesters arrested have been released with pre-charge warnings.

“We’re unsurprised that the Wellington police are once more protecting the interests of businesses, even deeply unethical businesses, at the expense of the right of ordinary people to protest peacefully,” said Dennis. “We’re concerned to hear not only of violent arrests but of sexual harassment of protesters by police.”

The blockade received the support of Green MPs Chloe Swarbrick and Thomas Nash, who recently won Nobel peace prize for his work with The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons. “We in this country have a strong kaupapa for peace,” said Thomas.

News from NZ Police
Police are continuing to respond to protest activity outside the New Zealand Defence Industry Association conference at Westpac Stadium today. The role of the Police is to ensure safety and uphold the law, while recognising the lawful right to protest.

We will continue to respond appropriately to any issues regarding disorder or public safety that may arise.

As at 10:45am five people were arrested for obstructing a roadway.

Earlier News from Peace Action Wellington
Peace activists from all over the country are gathering at 90 Waterloo Quay this morning in preparation for a non-violent blockade of the Weapons Expo.

“We will be moving into positions closer to the entrance of the Westpac Stadium shortly after assembling,” said Jessie Dennis, member of Peace Action Wellington. “We encourage people in Wellington to get down to the Westpac Stadium now for a day of awesome peace action. There will be plenty of food, music and activities to keep us sustained through the day.”

News from Peace Action Wellington
Peace activists have announced their plans to blockade the annual NZDIA Weapons Expo in Wellington today. Groups from all over the country are gathering to shut down the Expo, held this year at the Westpac Stadium.

“The Weapons Expo is a trade fair for major weapons companies, including Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, Thales and Northrup Grumman. These companies are coming here to cash in on war and disaster. We will disrupt their business using tactics of non-violent direct action,” said Peace Action Wellington spokesperson Jessie Dennis.

“We witness the strife of war from our screens, we know it’s bad, but it’s important to act and to target the drivers of war, those who make billions of dollars from killing people. Tomorrow is our opportunity to shut down their business, to mess with their profit and to ultimately make the world a better and safer place.

“It’s time the government recognised that the money spent on ‘defence’ could be better spent on reducing the disgraceful levels of child poverty in this country, or on addressing the housing crisis.”

Groups including Auckland Peace Action, Peace Action Hamilton, People Against Prisons Aotearoa, Palestine Solidarity Network, Whanganui Positive Activists, It’s Our Future Manawatu, Oil Free Wellington, Unions Wellington, Pacific Panthers, Quakers, Catholic Workers and many other individual social justice activists will join the blockade.


News from Oil Free Wellington
Oil Free Wellington is supporting today’s blockade of the annual NZDIA Weapons Expo.

Oil Free Wellington spokesperson Frances Mountier says “we are supporting the blockade because peace issues and climate justice are intertwined. If we are to achieve a just and sustainable world there is no room for the weapons industry. You cannot have a just world where people make money out of the deaths of others.”

She continues: “just as climate change is being fueled by oil and gas companies pursuing profit, war is fueled by weapons manufacturers and industries seeking to make money. Climate change and war destroy homes, displace people and effect the poor and vulnerable.”

“As climate change gets worse so too will conflicts around resources, land, migration and displacement. Today we will be taking action against businesses which would seek to profit from such conflict and wars.”


SpinOff: Marketplace for misery


  1. Chris Horne, 9. October 2017, 21:48

    Best wishes to Peace Action Wellington and the numerous other groups in their efforts to halt the gathering of corporate war-mongers – the companies which profit when their customers buy their products to arm themselves to kill or maim people who are not the war-mongers’ customers.

    I am shocked that our Government allows agents of the foreign military-industrial complex to come to Aotearoa/New Zealand to plot the development and sale of ever-more advanced weaponry, and thus the implementation of ever-more evil modes of killing and destruction. Our Government is complicit in aiding the war-mongers to increase their annual profits.

  2. Ellie, 12. October 2017, 10:28

    Exercise caution in your business affairs;
    for the world is full of trickery.
    But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
    many persons strive for high ideals;
    and everywhere life is full of heroism.
    Here we have heroes putting themselves on the line for the rest of us…………..

  3. Peace Action Wellington, 1. November 2017, 15:23

    Fifteen people total were arrested, 6 were released early in the day because the police could not get them and their van out of the stadium because of the blockade. Nine were taken to the police station. Six have been charged; 3, the police did not have the paperwork ready for, so they’re still awaiting a summons.