Wellington Scoop

Peace activists arrested at protest outside defence industry conference


Scoop report by Robert Kelly
Photographs by Olexander Barnes

Over twenty protestors were arrested this morning at a demonstration by the Wellington Peace Action group against a conference in the TSB Arena organised by the New Zealand Defence Industry Association.

Protestors attempted to block the entrance to the conference and shouted at attendees attempting to enter through the front doors.

The police presence was high with dozens of uniformed police officers supported by plain clothes officers in stab vests. Venue security personnel were also present.

After the flurry of arrests an angry mood descended over the protest but it remained non-violent.

The protest began about 8am in Frank Kitts Park, where people dressed in grim reaper costumes mixed with families, students and several well-behaved dogs.

By twenty past eight over a hundred people had gathered in the park. Peace Action Wellington member Valerie Morse gave a speech and said that the point of the protest was to “shut down this weapons conference”. She described the action of the day as a “community blockade” and that their intent was to “disrupt and interrupt this conference as much as possible”.

Morse emphasised that people were only to do what they were comfortable with doing and said that protestors should “participate in ways that feel ok for you”.

Protestors were issued with a “bus pass” each which contained legal advice and the details of a trusted lawyer. They were also given schedules of the conference and briefing notes containing points to discuss with the media.

At eight thirty the protestors wended their way around both sides of the TSB Arena and set up blockades of the entranceways. While they walked along the waterfront, the Brass Razoo Solidarity Band played snatches of The Imperial March.

Supported by a set of tables providing water, food and first aid, the protestors sat in formation and waited for delegates to begin to arrive. One early attendee was glitter bombed as he entered the conference.

A heavy police presence was in place at the arena and the protestors were moved away from the entrance. Police were patrolling around the arena as well.

Peace Action Wellington were intending to continue protesting throughout the the two day conference. But late in the morning, the arrests began.

after arrests

Earlier: Anti-war protestors plan blockade of conference


  1. Jimbo, 18. November 2015, 14:53

    Missed the photos of the protesters who took swings at NZ business reps? Or the shirts and suit jackets ripped, the stuff stolen from the bags. These guys used peaceful quite loosely.

  2. Ron Oliver, 19. November 2015, 0:46

    When hundred of thousands of people with their children are being made homeless and are fleeing from places like Iraq and Syria in terror to any other place they can go, these planners of war go to safe havens that are quiet and peaceful to plan their next round of profit margins from of the weapons which they will produce to cause misery and suffering to countless other thousands of victims, which they seem to consider as necessary collateral damage for their greedy cause. What is wrong with these people and where do they come from?