Mass Arrests of Indigenous and Environmental Activists in Aotearoa (NZ)

A story of serious government repression in Aotearoa (aka New Zealand). The media there is reporting that organizers from the non-violent direct action campaign to stop coal mining at Happy Valley on Aotearoa’s southern island are among the arrestees.

17 activists arrested, denied bail. 300+ Police raid houses across the country
15 Oct 2007

Aotearoa Indymedia (New Zealand)

In a wave of massive state repression, 300+ Police, in many cases armed, raided houses around the country today making 17 arrests. Search warrants were carried out in Auckland, Whakatane, Ruatoki, Hamilton, Palmerston North, Wellington and Christchurch. Police are also seeking up to 60 people for questioning. The arrestees are all activists in the Tino Rangatiratanga, peace and environmental movements.

Prominent Tino Rangatiratanga activist Tame Iti was among the first arrested at his home at 4am Monday morning. At 6am raids were carried out at A Space Inside anarchist social centre in Auckland [ Search Warrant ] and the 128 activist Community Centre in Wellington [ Video of police raid ]. In Tuhoe Country, the town of Ruatoki was blockaded by armed police for several hours, with no cars allowed in and many searched, including a school bus full of children.

14 of the arrestees appeared in court hearings in Auckland, Rotorua and Wellington this afternoon and were all refused bail. All but two recieved name supression. They have all been charged under the Arms Act with various offences relating to alleged possesion of various firearms and ammunition. More charges may be added in the future.

Stand In Solidarity!

* Auckland: A solidarity group has been formed, and will meet next on Thursday. Details to come.
* Wellington: A meeting to “constructively discuss a reaction” will be held on Tuesday at 7:30pm at 128 Abel Smith St and a solidarity demonstration will be held at Wellington District Court at 2pm Wednesday.
* Christchurch: A solidarity protest will be held in Cathedral Square on Tuesday at 5pm. There will also be another demonstration in Cathedral Square at 12noon on Saturday.
* Melbourne, Australia: Demonstration in support of the arrestees Tuesday, 11am at the Consulate-General of New Zealand, Suite 2, North Level 3 350 Collins Street.

Links: Video interview with Annette Sykes, lawyer for Tame Iti | TV3 News video | Please remember security culture

The four Wellington arrestees (2 women and 2 men) have recieved a total of 20 charges. On Wednesday they will be back in court as the prosecution attempts to move their trial to Auckland, while they will have an opportunity to apply for bail hearing on Friday.

5 arrestees (1 woman and 4 men) in Auckland will remain in custody until Friday while a 6th, Jamie Beattie Lockett, who faces 3 charges under the Firearms Act, will have a bail hearing Tuesday morning.

An arrestee in the Hamilton District Court, charged with 6 charges, will appear in the Auckland District Court on Friday.

In Rotorua, Tame Iti, facing 8 charges, will have a bail application heard Tuesday at 3pm. A woman in the Rotorua District Court, facing 5 charges, has been remanded in custody for 2 weeks, although will be allowed to apply for bail during that time.

The Police will make a decision in the coming days/weeks as to whether they will apply to the Solicitor General to allow charges to be laid under the 2002 Terrorism Supression Act. If they do get permission, it would be the first time charges have been laid under the act. There may still be more arrests and more charges as well.

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