Auckland Peace Action denounces the Royal New Zealand Navy’s planned “activities” which “include the use of pyrotechnics, blank ammunition firing, drones and actors simulating a crowd of protesters” near the Auckland Harbour Bridge on Friday 12th to Monday 15th of June.
We are disappointed, disturbed and disgusted that the Royal New Zealand Navy is practising killing protesters. Is this what people believe a democratic society does? Is pretending to kill protesters the role of the Defence Force? Who or what are they defending, if they are practising attacking people exercising democracy?
In our recent correspondence with Ron Mark (current Minister of Defence) regarding #CancelRIMPAC, he justified the Navy, saying it was for performing aid duties and to maintain law and order. We are concerned that if the NZ Royal Navy was to go ahead with simulating an attack on civilians exercising their human and democratic rights, then the Navy would be simulating and performing a crime against humanity. It is appalling and inappropriate. We have the right to protest and should not be subject to the threat of military violence.
New Zealand has a proud standing as a country which makes progress for social justice. Time and time again, our social movements have been on the right side of history as we bring positive change to the world.
It has been recognised this week that it is not okay for the police to be armed. Likewise the military must also stop being a threat to civilians and human life.
Their rationale of having to “force protection measures to ensure the safety and security of a ship” is an unrealistic scenario. It is implausible that a group of people holding banners and calling for values would pose any threat. It is the violence that the Navy is performing, which threatens New Zealand’s peace.
It is illegitimate for the Navy to do these practices. This is not the role of the Defence Force and we call upon them to halt these exercises and reconsider their role.