[Marxism] Another NZ political conviction
philip.ferguson at canterbury.ac.nz
Thu Jul 29 15:26:04 MDT 2004
When the flag-burning conviction was thrown out, so a victory won, there
was also an important defeat as a conviction against another of our
comrades was upheld.
At the same protest where Paul was arrested for burning the NZ flag last
year, another leading comrade, Jared Phillips, was arrested for throwing
something at John Howard's car. All he threw was a bag of leaves and I
think it missed. When asked by the judge whether he had a bad aim,
Jared responded that there was nothing wrong with his aim but the bag
was incorrectly weighted.
Anyway, the judge ruled that in the "post September 11" context, the
police were justified in arresting him and he was convicted of a
criminal offence (not leaf-throwing; Labour haven't yet made it illegal
to throw leaves, although they would probably like to). This conviction
was upheld on appeal and basically set a precedent for increased de
facto police power in the 'post-September 11' world *in New Zealand*.
In Wellington, the police have been especially keen to arrest anti-war
protesters. Pretty much all the arrests of antiwar protesters since the
invasion of Afghanistan have been in Wellington, and hardly anyone has
been arrested in Auckland and Christchurch (I can only think of one
arrest down here at an antiwar protest, and it was when an anarchist
scaled the fence at the deserted US Antarctic base). The initiative for
the very 'proactive' stance of the cops in Wellington has come from the
government. They don't like antiwar protests at parliament or at the US
It's interesting how the Labour government these days is made up of a
lot of people who protested the Vietnam War. Now they are managing NZ
Capitalism Ltd and determined to do whatever is necessary in that role.
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