Pacific Scoop

5 March 2015

Pacific Scoop: Key dodges student protesters, peace vigil denounces PM

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Women and a child protest against the planned deployment of New Zealand soldiers in Iraq at the Auckland peace vigil today. Image: David Robie/PMC
5 March 2015

Protesters forced Prime Minister John Key to slip out through a back door at the University of Auckland’s Business School today.

The small demonstration was against the government decision to send troops to Iraq to be deployed for training against ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) militants.

Later, about 200 people participated in a vigil in Auckland’s Aotea Square with placards proclaiming, “No John Key – not in our name” and other slogans protesting against the planned deployment.
“John Key’s arrogance” placard at today’s rally. Image: David Robie/PMC

Prime Minister Key had been speaking at the university and was scheduled to give a mid-afternoon media conference.

But he failed to appear

TV3 News reported Key was taken off the campus through a service exit after the protesters became vocal.

“Our Prime Minister has declared war without any democratic consultation in a bid to support the United States’ imperial project in the Middle East,” said protest spokesperson Mikaela Hunt.

At the Aotea Square rally, former Green Party foreign affairs spokesperson Keith Locke denounced the decision to send New Zealand soldiers to Iraq.

He and other speakers against the deployment were greeted with rousing applause.

The organisers, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF), distributed flyers declaring:

 We don’t buy your moral justification for “doing the right thing” by sending military to Iraq.

  We don’t trust your judgment that New Zealand “training the untrainable” will achieve anything.

  We don’t believe that your joining the “right side” in a holy war will do anything to improve the current dangerous situation.

  We do believe that your unilateral decision will damage New Zealand’s reputation among “those nations which helped us gain a seat on the UN Security Council – why should they ever trust us again”.

  We do believe you are selling out our independence by slavish bowing to the will of the “Five Eyes Club”.

WILPF said the New Zealand people called on Prime Minister Key to reverse his unilateral call, consult the full Parliament, and find a way to fund the humanitarian needs of the “millions of suffering civilians” in the region.

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