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Four arrested, as protestors block entrances to oil and gas conference

oil-protest
Photo via twitter: Peace Action Wellington

Wellington.Scoop
More than 200 protestors this morning blocked the entrances to the oil and gas conference which was due to begin in the TSB Arena on the Wellington waterfront. Police said there were four arrests.

News from NZ Police
Police have spent the day ensuring the safety of the public, protestors and delegates in and around the oil and gas conference in Wellington. Disruption was kept to a minimum and the majority of protestors acted with restraint. However, a small number of protestors put attendees and staff at risk by padlocking and blocking fire exits. This type of behaviour is reckless and irresponsible. Our Police teams acted swiftly to remove several locks and blockades to ensure those inside the venue were not put at risk.

A total of four people were arrested for a range of offences.

Two men – aged 22 and 19 – were arrested and charged with assaulting Police.

A 38-year-old man was charged with breach of the peace.

A 20-year-old woman was arrested for obstructing a public place and was given a pre-charge warning.

This morning we received a report that man in his 50s was injured in the vicinity of TSB Arena. Staff spoke to him and the person who called Police, but both declined any assistance from Police.

We will continue to monitor the city to ensure that the right to protest is balanced with the right for delegates to attend events, and for the public to go about their daily lives.

Earlier News from NZ Police
Three people were this morning arrested by Police outside the petroleum and gas industry conference at the TSB Arena in Wellington. Two men – aged 22 and 19 – were arrested and charged with assaulting Police.

A 20-year-old woman was arrested for obstructing a public place. She was given a pre-charge warning.

In response to media questions about whether a man had been injured, Police responded to a call for assistance. A man was located by Police. However, he declined any Police assistance.

The role of police at these type of events is to ensure safety and uphold the law, while recognising the lawful right to protest. We want everyone to stay safe in and around the venue, particularly with today’s changeable Wellington weather.

arrest
Photo via twitter: Peace Action Wellington

News from Oil Free Wellington
People representing a diverse range of community groups rallied for climate justice and blockaded the Oil Industry Summit at the TSB Arena in Wellington today.

Spokesperson India Logan-Riley says, “People have come together from all around Aotearoa to send the message to the oil and gas industry that their business is unacceptable. It’s been inspiring to see such a large, diverse group of people showing out to stand up for climate justice.

“This is no longer about the environment but about the ‘haves’ versus the ‘have-nots’. We already have climate refugees here in places like Edgecumbe and Takaka. Māori, the poor and primary industry workers in particular are already suffering the impacts of extreme weather events, sea level rise and ocean acidification.”

Church leaders, grandparents, artists, scientists, tangata whenua, activists, unionists, health professionals, school kids and parents attended the rally demanding for an end to fossil fuel drilling, support for workers in these industries to transition their livelihoods, and solutions centred around frontline communities.

The conference entrances were blocked by people holding banners, preventing delegates from being able to enter the venue and forcing them to watch some plenary sessions from nearby hotels. Four activists were arrested at the protest and several people needed medical attention following excessive police force.

Today’s rally and blockade followed yesterday’s opening ceremony, at which 350 Aotearoa and other groups created a sunflower outside the Oil Summit to symbolise the resistance and determination for an end to the industry and the creation of a sustainable and fair world.

The conference has traditionally been used by the government to announce ‘block offers’ of new territory opened up for gas and oil exploration. At this year’s event, however, Climate Minister Megan Woods addressed the conference to postpone any such announcement.

“Although Megan Woods’ block offer delay is a win for the climate movement, we really need a dependable commitment to real climate solutions – and that’s still yet to be seen from both our government and the fossil fuel industry,” said India.

“There has been a lot of talk from the government about climate change being this generation’s nuclear-free moment, but we’re still not seeing the strong leadership and action that’s desperately needed if we’re going to prevent catastrophic climate change.

“We’ll keep up the pressure on the government to commit to taking this action – and taking it soon. We invite New Zealanders and people all over the world to take a stand against the oil and gas companies that are destroying our climate in the name of profit.”

www.RallyForClimateJustice.nz

www.twitter.com/OilFreeWelly

#ClimateJustice

Earlier News from Oil Free Wellington
People from across Aotearoa are rallying together in a call for climate justice today outside the Oil Industry Summit at TSB Arena in Wellington. Approximately 120 people have joined the rally and blockade, which was moved to a start time of 5am.

Two arrests have been reported as of 7.15am and one protester was awaiting medical treatment for neck injury and concussion following excessive force by the police. An ambulance has been requested multiple times over the course of an hour.

Spokesperson Emily Bailey says, “We’re thrilled to have so many people turn out to take action against the companies responsible for causing climate change. We have ordinary people from all over Aotearoa – mums, dads, grandparents, students, children – who are standing up for climate justice and disrupting the business of the oil and gas industries.

“We are not prepared to allow ‘business-as-usual’ while these companies make billions in profit while causing climate change. We are using Non-Violent Direct Action to get in the way of delegates attempting to attend the conference.

“Oil and gas drilling and exploration needs to stop. It is clear, we cannot burn all the fossil fuels which we’ve already found, let alone be exploring for more.

“Our prime minister has indicated she takes climate change seriously. That’s great – but we need her to back up her words with actions, and ending block offers is just the beginning. We need a dissolution of all existing drilling permits, and a pathway for a just transition for workers and communities must be put in place.”

The Rally for Climate Justice is calling for the following:

1: To the government: Commit to no new permits, and stop all drilling and prospecting for oil and gas as part of a just transition for workers and communities.

2: To the oil and gas industries: Stop drilling and prospecting