Police arrest anti-TPPA demonstrators outside MFAT offices on Lambton Quay

demo at mfat against tppa
Heavy-handed treatment from the police at TPPA protest – Twitter photo from Iona Pannett.

Wellington.Scoop
Anti-TPPA protestors outside the Lambton Quay offices of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade report that police began arresting them this afternoon. Here’s their report.

News from Show Us Ya Text
Just before 2pm today arrests began of over 15 protesters from citizens group ‘Show Us Ya Text’, while attempting to seize the TPPA outside the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Prior to her arrest, spokesperson Lizzie Sullivan said “We are here to stand up for our democratic rights to access this document. Police should stand with us and help liberate this document which every New Zealander has the right to see”.

The group had previously announced that if the government did not release the full text of the TPPA by 31 August they would conduct a citizen’s search and seizure at the MFAT head office in Wellington.

At 10am today over 100 members of the group gathered outside the MFAT offices and formed a “Search and Seizure” team which lined up in rows of two and attempted to access the building in what Lizzie Sullivan said was “techniques in non-violent civil disobedience”.

For three hours the “searchers” walked in rows, two by two, and attempted to move past police and enter the building. After repeated attempts and forceful push back from police, the pairs finished, returning to the back of their line, and allowing another pair to begin.

“With such a large crowd supporting the search, we decided that in the interest of safety we needed to move and block the road after the police refused” said Sullivan. “We are here to stand up for our democratic rights to access this document. Police should stand with us and help liberate this document which every New Zealander has the right to see”.

“The police response to our action today illustrates the lengths this government will go to in order to hide such important information from the New Zealand public. We as New Zealanders need to stand up for our democratic rights and demand access to these secret texts.

“But the real issue here isn’t the arrests, or the response of the police. The real issue is the secrecy of the government and the extreme efforts it will go to in order to keep its citizens in the dark.”

Earlier news from ‘Show Us Ya Text’
TPPA action group ‘Show us Ya Text’ converged on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade building in Wellington this morning to seize the text of the TPPA.

Spokesperson Lizzie Sullivan said “The government’s secrecy in these negotiations is an insult to the people of New Zealand. They have not lived up to their obligations of a democratic society, so we have been forced to seize the text for the New Zealand public ourselves.”

Some members of the group were part of the “Search and Seizure” team, and lined up in rows of two while attempting to access the building. Others with vests identifying themselves as “Peacekeepers” formed a human chain around them while supporters looked on.

“Citizens have come from around the country to participate in our search and seizure action, putting themselves on the line for the hundreds of thousands of New Zealanders who can’t. All those participating have undergone practical training in non-violent civil disobedience, the principles of which will be maintained throughout our action”, said Sullivan.

“Last week John Key noted that if we ‘had a beef’ over the TPPA we should take it up with him. So we invited our Prime Minister to meet us here at 10am to explain why he thinks the secrecy of these trade negotiations is justified, and how this is compatible with a supposedly open and democratic society.”

“We’ve been in contact with the police and anticipate their presence. All those partaking have been trained on how to deal with their force”, said Sullivan.

 

2 comments:

  1. Hana, 15. September 2015, 11:16

    Good on them. Come on John Key – get out there and talk to them, or is it that like the negotiations for the TPPA, you prefer to hide behind closed doors. Better still, give them the text.

     
  2. Clive, 15. September 2015, 14:16

    The flag debate is the smokescreen for these undemocratic American-led negotiations – spend $26mil on NZ issues NOT an ego boost for Don called Key

     

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