Five more unlawful arrests of protesters today

Written By: - Date published: 10:52 pm, January 7th, 2010 - 121 comments
Categories: activism, police - Tags:

John Darroch called today to inform me that the police were starting to round up and arrest protesters, and that they had three paddywagons ready. I turned up at the protest 10 minutes later and it was pretty much all over. John D, John Minto, and three others had been arrested, and everyone else seemed too scared and intimidated to continue protesting.

John D says that the arrests started only 10 minutes after the protest began. Media reports suggest that the sound from the protest was barely audible inside the stadium. Police began by warning those with megaphones to stop using them. Then, from John D’s account:

I got on a megaphone and explained to the police that my understanding was that two recent court decisions protected our right to protest loudly including using a megaphone in a public place. I talked about Rees v Police where a friend (Rochelle/Rocky) had been charged with disorderly conduct for using a megaphone in the CBD and had on appeal won a clear victory. I also made reference to the recent Brooker case which went all the way to the supreme court. I invited the Sergeant in charge of the protest to come over and explain why using a megaphone was disorderly and otherwise based on my understanding of the law I would continue to use the megaphone. All this was clearly audible to the cops who started smiling and laughing as I continued my explanation. On two other occasions I attempted to talk to the senior officer asking him why we could not use Megaphones.

Police arrested John Minto for using a megaphone, and two others for blowing whistles. John D then climbed a tree with his megaphone and began chanting, having been given no explanation as to how it was unlawful.

An officer got a boost up and after struggling for a minute or two made it to the branch I was on. After being asked to come down I passed my megaphone down and jumped down. At no stage was I asked to stop making noise, I was not told to stop using my megaphone, I was only asked to come down ‘For your own safety’.

There is something quite ironic about John D being arrested for climbing a tree to use a megaphone, when Wellington police let him go after he dropped a banner from four stories up the MFAT building only a couple of weeks ago.

One of those arrested is a young woman who has just finished her law degree but hasn’t yet been admitted to the bar. Of course wanting to be a lawyer she is very careful not to get herself into trouble. She was arrested for blowing a whistle, and as she says, the arrest was unlawful because while they had warned those using megphones to stop, they gave her no warning to cease and desist.

I went down to the Auckland Central police station to wait for John D and the others, and a couple of hours later they were released with bail conditions preventing them from being within 500 metres of the protest location. This is a clear breach of the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990, and the precedent set in Bradford v Police [1995] regarding bail conditions.

We then had issues trying to get peoples’ bikes back from where they were chained up near the tennis stadium. A friend and I who weren’t arrested had to walk backwards and forwards 500 metres to get the bikes belonging to those who couldn’t pick them up themselves without breaching bail.

Finally, a few of us came back to my place for a very late lunch and a debrief. I made us all bread and soup, and unfortunately, the young woman who was arrested for blowing a whistle went into anaphylactic shock, as it turns out there were pumpkin seeds in the bread that she is allergic to. We rushed her to the hospital where she is still now under observation. On my way home, I measured the distance between the hospital and the tennis stadium. It seems the young woman is breaking the law and breaching bail by being in hospital.

Today’s events were chillingly similar to those I experienced in 2005 protesting outside a broiler industry conference (events that led to the Rees v Police decision in the High Court, reaffirming the right to use a megaphone at a protest). The police, using their standard unlawful tactics to shut down a protest, arrest the leaders / organisers or those they think are the leaders / organisers. This is done because generally speaking, the rest of the protesters then get scared and comply with unreasonable demands.

At the broiler conference (a week long event), on the Wednesday the police decided arbitrarily that they had had enough. They arrested two protesters (and core organisers) at the morning protest, one for banging on drums, the other for filming. Police gave them a bail condition that they couldn’t go within 500 metres of the hotel they were protesting at, and made their court date the following week so they wouldn’t have a chance to argue the conditions in front of a judge until the protests were over.

That evening, I was arrested for chanting on a megaphone. I was warned to stop about 10 times, but continued as I was sure I wasn’t doing anything unlawful. I was then arrested, and the protest shut down as all the core organisers were now gone. At the police station, they tried to give me the same bail condition and a court date the following week. I told them that I wasn’t going to sign the bail form unless they either removed the condition, or changed my court date to the following day so I could argue the condition in front of a judge. They refused, so I told them I wouldn’t sign the form. They said that meant I wouldn’t get bail, and I said that was fine, I was going to court the next day one way or another, and if they kept me overnight they would be forced to take me in front of judge the following morning. They gave in and changed my court date to the following day.

The next morning I had my bail condition dropped at court, and went back to the hotel to continue protesting that evening. Before we began we had a brief meeting across the road, and I told people the police would do the same thing again, and we had a couple of options. We could ignore police warnings to stop, but I said if that option was chosen we needed most people to agree to keep going and be prepared to be arrested. The other option was to all comply with the police unreasonable demands. Everyone said they were prepared to be arrested.

Not long after the protest started, my ex, the spy, was listening to the police scanner for us and heard my arresting officer from the previous night QP (query person) me to find out if I had any bail conditions. He was hoping to arrest me and was disappointed to hear back that my bail conditions were gone. Then, Senior Sergeant Willie Taylor (now inspector) was heard over the scanner instructing his officers (from the Team Policing Unit) to warn people to stop making all noise, and arrest them if they didn’t comply. The police filled up their two paddywagons with people who were only chanting with their voices (the police had stolen our megaphone), and then realised they had no more room to arrest anyone else. The 15 or so people still left kept going and the police had to give in.

I had two pairs of disposable plastic handcuffs put on me so tight that by the time we got back to the Auckland Central police station, I couldn’t feel my hands at all. When I asked Senior Sergeant Willie Taylor to loosen my handcuffs, he swore at me.

At the police station, the regular cops (non TPU) were very annoyed that the TPU had dropped us off and left them to deal with us. As they said, our noise couldn’t even be heard within the hotel, and the TPU were way over the top. They ensured we got processed very quickly and weren’t charged, so we could go straight back up to the hotel again and keep protesting.

Unfortunately, it is very often the case that police actions at protests are designed purely to disrupt our activities, and have very little to do with securing convictions through the courts. In 2007 I was again arrested for using a megaphone, however the police decided to withdraw the charge on the day of the defended hearing. It is very rare for protesters to be convicted in the few cases that actually make it to a full hearing.

121 comments on “Five more unlawful arrests of protesters today”

  1. Nick C 1

    Go Shahar Peer! I wish her all the best for her semi final tomorrow.

    [rocky: You are most welcome to hold and express that opinion, however I will warn you to keep your comments to the topic of the post. I haven’t said anything about the reason for the protests, as that is irrelevant to my post. My post is about the police actions, and the reason for a protest has no relevance to the way it is dealt with by police.]

    • Nick C 1.1

      Once could argue that the topic of middle eastern conflict has nothing to do with a tennis tournament, but that didnt stop you.

      • rocky 1.1.1

        Since I expect I will get a number of comments along these lines, perhaps I should respond.

        Your comment is ignorant in the extreme, and is very much like those who said the Springbok tour had nothing to do with apartheid.

        It can be argued that an effective way for a country to take a stand against attrocities in another is to stop sporting ties (hence the UAE have refused Pe’er a visa). Likewise, citizens can take a stand by boycotting sports involving such countries.

        It is very little to do with the individual tennis player, however she is not as innocent as many are making out. From wikipedia:

        As a 19-year-old, Pe’er joined the Israeli military, as military service is mandatory in Israel, where she excelled in rifle marksmanship during her elementary combat training.[4] When not abroad participating in tennis tournaments, she spends her mornings working as an administrative secretary for the Israeli military, and her afternoons practicing tennis.

        • Nick C 1.1.1.1

          Ahh, still living in the early 80’s are we Rocky? I think a key difference between the two is that the south african rugby team was picked along racial lines and was thus a part of the system. Shahar got to where she is for no such reason.

          I find it ammusing how you site the United Arab Emirates as a country which has banned Israeli sports players for human rights reasons, when a post on this very blog just a few down decrys human rights (spesifically workers rights) in that country, branding them as using slavery.

          The house that slavery built

          And you can say that this is nothing to do with the individual tennis player, but at the end of the day she is the one most affected (other than I guess the protesters who were arrested). Also i think TB makes a very good point.

          • rocky 1.1.1.1.1

            Ahh, still living in the early 80’s are we Rocky?

            LOL. I’ve never lived in the early 80s… wasn’t born till ’86! In any case, how does that invalidate my point?

            As for the UAE – being bad in some human rights respects doesn’t mean you’re bad in all. NZ has done some pretty awful stuff in terms of human rights too (think Ahmed Zaoui), but it doesn’t mean we can’t speak out against other human rights abuses.

            but at the end of the day she is the one most affected

            She claims not to be affected. And I didn’t say nothing to do with the individual tennis player, I said very little.

            Also i think TB makes a very good point.

            I can’t be bothered replying to TB’s comment right now – perhaps in the morning (I’m kind of hoping someone else will get in first)!

          • modern 1.1.1.1.2

            Nick C

            Find a sports blog, mate! Maaaate!

            Cos you’re missing the point completely here.

  2. Well the longer she stays in the tournament the more opportunities to protest. So her doing well works best for everyone 🙂

  3. TB 3

    Interesting that the protests appear to have spurred her on.

    On another point regarding protests, when does a noisy protest become criminal? Assuming it is legal for noisy protest to distract the concentration of professional sports people, would it be legal for protesters to distract students sitting an exam?

    Surely the longer the protest continues, the more likely it will move from being a protest to being illegal. Deliberately distracting professional sports people (and also paying spectators) while they are concentrating on their game over a sustained period of time would be considered highly offensive to many reasonable people and surely is likely to become illegal the longer the protest continues. If the protesters contained the noise to between games they could probably continue all day for all I care. However there does become a point where the protest goes from annoying to seriously pissing other people off.

    Is there a point at which the right to protest and “annoy” others become less important tham the right to be left in peace?

    • Marty G 3.1

      “Is there a point at which the right to protest and “annoy’ others become less important tham the right to be left in peace?”

      Of course, the law is all about balance of rights, but that point is not reached in this case. But Rees v Police shows that using a megaphone in a protest does not unjustifibly impede on the rights of others.

      Consider, would you have a cry if some business was advertising for half an hour with a megaphone? No. Have you heard how loud the music coming out of many shops is? What about the noise from professional sporting fixtures that can often be heard miles away?

      So, it’s obviously OK to make substantial noise in commerical pursuit. Now, why should a person exercising their human rights to free speech and political participation have less right to make noise than a business?

    • burt 3.2

      If you come from a past of being persecuted for your race and your religion, then being called racist will spur you on. Call it how you like on who is right and wrong, I’m not well enough informed to take that on but one thing is sure – out of adversity comes great strength. Minto and his half thinking comrades might help propel this woman to great heights.

    • lprent 3.3

      I’d suggest that you read the Brooker case from my post yesterday. A supreme court judge has been through all of your points and many more that you probably haven’t thought of.

      Essentially you’re wrong according to him, and I’d tend to take his opinion over yours.

  4. John 4

    That last night of the broiler conference was my first arrest, very similar situation to today. I knew the request was unreasonable and unlawful so I kep protesting and was arrested. Just breach of the peace that time though.

    • burt 4.1

      So did you expected this outcome from your actions?

      • rocky 4.1.1

        Seriously Burt, learn to put a sentence together!

        What does expecting an outcome have to do with anything? Being cynical due to the police frequently breaking the law doesn’t put you in the wrong.

      • John 4.1.2

        Yea it was pretty obvious, however I’m not going to comply with illegal orders from the police. An arrest or two to prevent the cops pushing us round whilst unfortunate seems to be what it takes.

        If we obeyed the cops every time they gave illegal instructions not many protests would take place. Unfortunately being a political organiser in New Zealand means constant arrests and harassment for bullshit reasons.

        • jagilby 4.1.2.1

          Pretty quick turn around John from being an AGW disciple to a frothing at the mouth anti-semite.

          Rent-an-outrage anyone???

      • burt 4.1.3

        rocky

        Settle down, John said “I knew the request was unreasonable and unlawful so I kep protesting and was arrested.”

        I’m not arguing that the arrest might have been illegal, I’m asking if John expected to be arrested today even if he believed it was going to be illegally.

        I think John is a big enough boy to take me on if he thinks I’m out of line asking that question.

      • burt 4.1.4

        Sorry John our posts crossed.

        I totally see where you are coming from on the ‘illegal arrest’ angle. If the police are empowered to simply give orders that have no basis in law and arrest us when they are not followed then we truly are a Police state.

        Although I think your target is poorly chosen, I do support you standing your ground on issues you feel strongly about.

        • John 4.1.4.1

          Cool thanks, yea I think targetting an Shahar as an individual is a poor strategic choice, there are many others that are far more culpable than her. There are also targets which are easier for the public to understand with lower chances of being misunderstood.

          That said I think calling for a boycott of high profile Israelis including sporting figures is a legitimate tactic and that todays protest was worthwhile.

          • rocky 4.1.4.1.1

            Well said John 🙂

          • Armchair Critic 4.1.4.1.2

            I must be tired, too, because I think I am agreeing with burt.
            I wasn’t going to comment on this post, but since you brought it up:
            I support your right to protest, I don’t support what the Israeli government is doing in Palestine, I don’t support the police acting illegally and I think you have picked the wrong target, too. In doing so you have made it too easy for people who dislike you to dismiss or discredit you.

        • burt 4.1.4.2

          Arguably in the context of ‘Disturbing the peace’ expecting to be arrested provides the guilty mind. Doing the action that (rightfully or wrongfully) got you arrested (while expecting to be arrested) is the guilty hand.

          lprent, do you have an opinion on this?

          • lprent 4.1.4.2.1

            Yep – you’re arguing that might makes right? That the expectation of an unlawful arrest means that you shouldn’t do a lawful action.

            Do you have an opinion on your ethical standards based on that?

  5. xvx 5

    The arrested law graduate tries to avoid trouble? Really?

  6. tsmithfield 6

    I was interested to know how consistent those of you are who have been protesting against the Israeli player, or complaining about human rights abuses in Dubai.

    Do you refuse to buy products from countries like China where human rights are commonly abused and workers are commonly exploited?

    • lprent 6.1

      Who cares about the player.

      What is annoying me is the police making arrests and charges that they know will not stand up in court. They will either drop them or have them thrown out in an court.

      Whichever way that will have wasted considerable taxpayers funds. What do you think about that?

      The police are using unlawful arrests to stifle protests. What do you think about that?

      Or are you just going to dogwhistle until you have no abilities to protest against anything?

      • tsmithfield 6.1.1

        The reason I asked the question is that it seems to me that the most effective way to get change is to hit a country in the pocket. If protesters really want change in countries such as China etc, then why not take the lead by boycotting their products.

        No need to worry about wrongful arrest by protesting in a completely legal and much more effective fashion as in making a choice not to support these countries economically.

        It wouldn’t surprise me if protesters such as Minto et. al. have as many Chinese made clothes and equipment as anyone.

        • felix 6.1.1.1

          So you’re concerned that you wouldn’t be surprised if something if Minto wasn’t doing something which he might or might not be doing?

          That does sound concerning.

  7. Jenny 7

    Is there a pattern here?

    A huge attempted show trial on trumped up terrorist charges.

    More intrusive spying snooping and monitoring.

    Illegal arrests.

    Need I mention aiding and abetting an indicted Israeli war criminal’s, escape from a District Court ordered arrest warrant, by whipping him out of the country.

    Senior police officers seem to be allowing a right wing anti democratic culture to develop within the force, where ordering illegal arrests becomes unquestioned and acting as a law unto themselves becomes common-place and un-remarked.

    I think that there needs to be an inquiry into these latest dodgy political calls from our police force.

    The shadowy senior officers making these political calls need to be asked to step forward, and asked to account, for their increasingly political and anti-democratic actions and bias.

    • gitmo 7.1

      Ummmm how is after repeated warnings to quiet down and then removing a few dickheads disturbing the peace from Stanley St a “dodgy political calls from our police force” and “increasingly political and anti-democratic actions and bias.”

      • felix 7.1.1

        It’s political because there’s no legal grounds for arrest.

        They arrested people to shut them up.

        You make the point yourself – they were told to quieten down and then arrested because they didn’t.

        You don’t mind because, as you’ve mentioned before, you’re an authoritarian.

      • felix 7.1.2

        Also git, the others have all realised they’re legally wrong with this argument and have moved on to the hilarious “RACIST!” argument.

        See it’s racist because, um, jews and all that.

        • gitmo 7.1.2.1

          It’s political because there’s no grounds for the arrest ?

          Um what ?

          And I don’t mind that they were arrested because on balance they were clearly disturbing the peace as evidenced by the comments from patrons and players at the tournament.

          And you know what most people have the sense to tone it down when the police repeatedly tell you to do so……..bit like hoons disturbing the peace outside a pub yahooing keep doing it and your down to the clink sonny … and good job.

          I think that global Peace and Justice should pop across to the Australian Open and see how the Australian Police/Public respond to their antics.

          Interest to know what you thought of their chants, they came across as pretty bigoted to me ?

          Guess it all comes down to one’s personal views I think the police do a pretty good job, thatthese protestors are a pack of stirrers wanting little more than a bit of airtime and could have protested as much as they wanted but sans the nosie and avoided getting arrested, I also think the target and effect of their protest is way off.

          • felix 7.1.2.1.1

            All of that probably makes sense to you, git, but that’s because you haven’t got your head around the idea that protesting is legally granted a different status legally to a bunch of hoons outside the pub.

            I accept that you wish it weren’t so.

            • gitmo 7.1.2.1.1.1

              Here have a look at this comment

              The police ignore Brooker

              There is point at which legitimate protests move on to become a disturbance of the peace and infringe on the rights of others, the police provided enough warnings that this was the case, the protestors wanted to push it to make it into the paper and TV.

              anyhoo .. clearly there ain’t much really going on if we’re arguing over this irrelevance… I’m off to the beach.

  8. Neil 8

    the arrests may be unlawful or they might not be, that’s the sort of thing that is usually left to the courts to decide.

    But you might be surprised to know that quite a lot of people would consider part of the police’s role is to protect individuals from being targerted for harassment by political zealots on the basis of their ethnicity. Whatever extreme of the political spectrum those zealots come from.

    • lprent 8.1

      Ah yes. There is a whacking great hole in your argument – there is no redress on the police. That is what they rely on while making unlawful arrests.

      What happens if (as is very likely in these cases) that the courts decide that to dismiss the charges or the police decide not to bring forward the charges. You’ve been arrested, deprived of your liberty, had bail conditions that restrict your abilities to protest, and then the charges all dissipate into vapor. It will usually not even get to trial. The police will stand up at some stage and announce that they will not be proceeding.

      In effect the police have knowingly arrested someone, knowing that they had exceeded their ability to gain a conviction, done it unlawfully, and there is absolutely nothing you can do about it. They will do exactly the same thing again and again and again.

      We have a toothless and useless police complaints and no ability to sue the arresting officer or the police for an unlawful arrest. Even if you did, you’d have to take years and tens of thousands of dollars to bring to court.

      That is the issue in these posts….

      • Neil 8.1.1

        the police will have stopped the ethnically motivated harassment of an individual. If that turns out to be illegal then i’d say the law needs to be changed.

        anti-abortion activists are quite entitled to stand outside abortion clinics with placards to protest their point of view – to tell people what they don’t want to hear as it’s been put – but to attempt to interfer with the operations of the clinic would be crossing the line and I think most people would expect the Police to intervene.

        No one is stopping Minto from protesting. he can stand on the side of the road with a placard.

        • felix 8.1.1.1

          He can do a lot more than that, Neil.

          That might be how you’d prefer he protest but that has nothing to do with the law.

          How come righties can’t understand the difference between “the law” and “what I reckon should be allowed”?

          • Neil 8.1.1.1.1

            actually I’d perfer him to protest in a manner that displayed dignity, intelligence and self respect, that might benefit the Palestinian cause.

            His never ending drama of self-martyredom and self-pity isn’t attracting a lot of support.

            But the parlous state of their supporters is the least of the Palestinians’ problems.

            • felix 8.1.1.1.1.1

              What you would prefer is neither here nor there.

              Do you think the police are charged with enforcing the “Neil Reckons Act of 2010”?

              If not, then what the fuck are you on about?.

              • Neil

                I think it was something about constructive support for the Palestinian cause as opposed to self-aggrandisment.

                But I’m begining to see that it’s very difficult for some to see what difference it would make if she were Arab Israeli and that most probably the protests would occur anyway. That would be even more bizarre.

              • felix

                So you’ve convinced yourself that in a hypothetical situation there may or may not be a similar response, and you’re confused that no-one else is interested in taking imaginary sides despite your clear impression that they probably would if it were real.

    • The Voice of Reason 8.2

      Nobody is protesting because of Pe’re’s ethnicity, Neil. It’s because she is Israeli and seen as representative of her county’s rather iffy behaviour towards its neighbours. Two very different things.

      • gitmo 8.2.1

        Perhaps they should start targeting the synagogues as well…. oh and let’s stop serving Israeli tourists at restaurants as well, I sure that’ll get public opinion supporting a change in Israel’s foreign policy…… oh wait a sec …

      • Neil 8.2.2

        so it would make no difference if she was an Israeli Arab?

        • felix 8.2.2.1

          I don’t know Neil, would it?

          What if she had a disability? What would that make it?

          • Neil 8.2.2.1.1

            i was repsonding to the

            “Nobody is protesting because of Pe’re’s ethnicity”

            comment above. the issue here is ethnicity not disability.

            • felix 8.2.2.1.1.1

              Don’t be a spoon. That comment was in response to your own suggestion that the protest is ethnically motivated.

              You bought it up and now you want others to disprove it.

              Ok I’ll play too. I think the protests are motivated by sexism. They wouldn’t be there if she was a man, they’re just pissed off about womens tennis.

              • gitmo

                “they’re just pissed off about womens tennis.”

                Well that’s a cause worth supporting, along with the removal of all gingas from competitive sport. all that red hair moving about scares the shit out of me.

              • felix

                I’ll be right beside you to protest the filthy gingas.

              • grumpy

                Come on felix, either the protests are targetted at her because of her ethnicity, or religion.

                Just as well she’s not a ginga, that would be too much.

    • prism 8.3

      This woman tennis player isn’t the purpose of protest because of her ethnicity, it is because her country Israel has turned another country into a ghetto and is laying siege to it.
      It is an old historical method of starving enemies out and it is not what Israelis should be doing in this age. They have a regime and system for dealing with Palestine that is as hateful as apartheid was in South Africa. And they live the high life touring the world while they oppress the Palestinians.

  9. gitmo 9

    Yawn what a load of trite bollocks.

    The police warned the protesters three times to tone it down due to complaints from the public, the use of loudhailers is a deliberate attempt to disrupt the tournament not merely to express a political message. otherwise why not just use placards for passers by to see.

    Wrong place to protest, wrong target and most people have probably got less sympathy for what the original protest was about after the chanting directed at the Israeli girl and lets not forget about her opponents as well who are no doubt put off by this bullshit ……… this is actually the way they make their living.

    Why don’t you link to the video of the debacle showing the police acting with admirable restraint.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/3212353/John-Minto-arrested-at-tennis-protest

    Somehow I don’t get the same sense of outrage about the police’s behaviour that you do watching this Rocky, what I see is a very restrained bunch of cops dealing with obstructive fools who are intent on making a nuisance of themselves and getting their face into the papers.

    Perhaps you could also explain why the protestors were so busy chanting ‘Shahar shame’ ‘shahar out’ and ‘blood on your hands’ why are they protesting against her ?

    • lprent 9.1

      The question is if people are able to protest and what the guidelines are. Who cares what the protest is about. It could have been people protesting against the EFA or the repeal of s59a.

      The courts are pretty damn clear about the limits to protest activity and these protesters follow these. The police appear to not understand the courts decisions and just make up their own rules. They are able to do this because there is no effective redress against the police when they operate outside of the courts guidelines. Quite simply as far as the police are concerned, protesters are guilty until the court proves them innocent.

      There is a pretty simple solution. Allow the protesters to bring charges of unlawful arrest against the police person who arrested them. Let the courts decide if they acted unlawfully.

      • gitmo 9.1.1

        ZZZZZZZZ

        As I cut and pasted from the “Brooker” case you posted yesterday

        “‘ What has been abandoned, in pursuit of an exalted perception of the right to freedom of expression,
        is the notion that s 4(1)(a) can be applied to promote public order in the sense of decorum and orderliness in public places to the benefit of all citizens. This objective can be achieved without proscribing trivial or inconsequential behaviour. No more is required than that, in a democratic and civil society, citizens exercise their rights responsibly with concern and consideration for their fellow citizens. ”

        Let me repeat again – No more is required than that, in a democratic and civil society, citizens exercise their rights responsibly with concern and consideration for their fellow citizens.

        And lets add to that the very well laid out comment from Deus ex Machina yesterday as below.

        ‘I don’t agree with your knee-jerk condemnation of the police.

        Point 1. They allowed the protest to proceed for 45 minutes. Protesters have rights, but so do the rest of us. There are no doubt many things you don’t want to hear, but are you arguing for the right to protesters to park themselves outside your house and blast the message at you through loudspeakers 24/7 or even for ten minutes every hour night and day?

        Point 2. The purpose of protest is to get a message across to someone in a position to do something about it ie politicians, CEO’s of businesses etc. The target of this protest was a sportswoman in no position at all to influence her country’s policies, and equally targeted another professional sportswoman with no connection to it whatsoever and a irritated a crowd who would probably in the main be sympathetic anyway.

        Point 3. Protest is a right, and with rights come obligations. Those obligations include targetting the message to where it matters rather than imposing it on ‘captive’ audiences, and respecting the rights of others to enjoy a sporting occasion.

        Point 4. By your logic I would be quite entitled to follow Japanese tourists around the country bellowing an anti-whaling message at them in camp-sites, motels, ski-resorts, jet-boats etc. without regard to the enjoyment of anyone else, or American tourists with an anti-Guantanamo message, French tourists with an anti-Pacific nuclear message and even New Zealanders with an anti-right-wing message.

        The protesters achieved their publicity and made their point in the first five minutes. Going beyond that was simply pointless vindictive mischief-making and I support the action of the police.”

        • Neil 9.1.1.1

          “The courts are pretty damn clear about the limits to protest activity and these protesters follow these.”

          That is your opinion and we’ll see if you’re right when it goes to court.

          but others have opinions which include laying complaints about the noise aimed at deliberately disrupting the tournament. That action may not be within the limits of reasaonable protest, certanly a lot of people hold that opinion.

          • modern 9.1.1.1.1

            “others have opinions”
            “certanly a lot of people hold that opinion.”

            You just don’t get it, do you! Something in your head is preventing you from realising that “majority opinion” and “status quo” are not the same as “legal” let alone “morally right”. You are a cookie cutter conservative in this respect, but you don’t even understand that yet. Don’t ever bless us with your wafty opinions on majority view again, if you want to be taken seriously here.

            What’s at issue here is (a) the legality of the protest; and (b) the lack of legal rights to prevent police from using arrest (without any prospect of conviction) and bail conditions to make their lives easier.

        • felix 9.1.1.2

          If we’re just copying and pasting yesterdays arguments then I might as well paste yesterday’s responses to that:

          “Point One: There’s a time limit on the freedom of expression?

          Point Two: The people that make a difference are you and me,the plonkers at the tennis, the shopkeepers, the pedestrians, even the police. The suits need reminding of this from time to time.

          Point Three: I don’t agree entirely. But, okay, lets say , yes, protesters are required to obey the law which, in this instance, they did. However much the protest spoiled the experience of sitting in the sun eating icecream while watching sport, I’m sure most Palestinians would have loved to swap even just for an afternoon.”

          And 4: “Absolutely you can. And we can all think you’re a dick.”

      • Nick 9.1.2

        There is a pretty simple solution. Allow the protesters to bring charges of unlawful arrest against the police person who arrested them. Let the courts decide if they acted unlawfully.

        File a statement of claim than and away you go.

        Pretty simple.

  10. Rocky

    While I endorse the right to protest, you do not have the right to disrupt the Tennis. Hanging about in trees wasting police time, only makes you look like a monkey.

    • lprent 10.1

      1. You should be talking to John Darroch, not rocky.
      2. The police arrested him for using a loudhailer which he is entitled to do according to previous court decisions.
      3. The reason he climbed a tree was to make it more difficult for the police to arrest him.

      Basically you should read the post.

  11. Ministry of Justice 11

    The protest is not lawful, it breaches the Racial Harassment section of the Human Rights Act.

    • The Voice of Reason 12.1

      No it’s not.

      If it was racism, they would be protesting because of her race, whatever that might be. Anyone now? I don’t. I know she’s from the country of Israel, but I haven’t got the foggiest as to what her racial background is. Arab? African? Hebrew? Russian?

      Israel is not a race, it is a country. Zionism, the political driver of Israel’s foreign policy is racist. Hence the protest is actually anti-racist.

      I know people get confused between the religion most Israelis’ identify with and the country itself, but they are different things. Protesting against, say, Iran, does not make it racist against Persians or say, against the Myanmar regime does not make it anti-Burmese.

  12. Wayne R. 13

    On the eve of last years election, I was hassling John Key at a public event. I was using a megaphone and often drowned out his speech. I think my action was much closer, louder and disruptive that the tennis protest could possibly have been.

    The police response, however, was completely different to that in Auckland. Twice they rescued the megaphone and returned it to me. They pointedly told bleating Tories that all Kiwi’s had a right to protest and they would have to put up with it. In the end, Key left, I chatted amiably with a few of the Nat’s, including one of the local MP’s, and we parted without any grief.

    I’m not aware of anything changing on the legal front, so is it simply that under a Tory government, the police feel less inclined to tolerate protest and are happy to arrest people without cause, then release them without charge, as long as it takes the steam out of the demo?

    If I was a conspiracy theorist, I’d probably suggest the indifferance to the Japanese whalers’ attempted murder of 5 NZ citizens on Wednesday confirms a shift to the right in the corridors of state power.

    • gitmo 13.1

      Harrasing politicians during electioneering is fair game and to be commended, disturbing the publics enjoyment of a tennis game and the players’ right to make their living is not.

      If you were conpletely retarded you could suggest the indifferance to the Japanese whalers’ attempted murder of 5 NZ citizens on Wednesday confirms a shift to the right in the corridors of state power.

      • Wayne R. 13.1.1

        If I was completely retarded, I’d identify myself with a political prison camp where the inmates are held indefinately without charge, trial or legal representation, Gitmo. But then, I’m not a reactionary hypocrite, eh.

        The point I was making in the last para was that there seems to be a not so subtle change in the official attitude to protestors. It now seems to be that protestors are fair game for both unlawful arrest and actual physical harm. I’m not a conspiracy theorist, so I don’t believe a plan has been conceived, signed off and actioned. However, I can accept that since the change of government, there has been a sense of ‘it’s our turn now’ amongst some sections of society, including, possibly, the police heirarchy.

        It’s the vibe, your Honour.

        • rocky 13.1.1.1

          Nothing to do with the change of government – all these things were happening under Labour too. Very little to do with the government.

        • lprent 13.1.1.2

          The police largely act independently of the government of the day. The government can only really dick about with the funding and new projects – for instance providing extra funding to be able to put more staff into Manakau. Of course the minister can suggest things and these are often looked by the police. What she cannot to is to order.

          Good thing too.

          The police, like police everywhere, have a strong tendency to a presumption of guilt. It kind of comes with the job. It is usually moderated by the courts.

          The difficulty here is that the courts are so slow these days, that the police don’t get good feedback. Moreover they are able to give extra-legal punishments by charging people and feeding them to the court system. Why should the police care if they lose a case. They can drag a person through multiple status hearings, get them to expend thousands on lawyers, etc…

          We need a restraint on the police unlawfully arresting people. Lets allow the police to be sued in court for unlawful arrest and the damages.

          • zelda 13.1.1.2.1

            What about an ex parte injuction against the police either before the protest begins, or even better after the first arrests. THis would help on the days following.
            I know thats a big ask in terms of getting a lawyer etc.
            But it means the officer in charge has to front up to the judge once he has broken the law and is personally liable and cant just toss the protestors into system and wash his hands

  13. burt 14

    lprent

    Yep you’re arguing that might makes right? That the expectation of an unlawful arrest means that you shouldn’t do a lawful action.
    Do you have an opinion on your ethical standards based on that?

    Ethics I said I support John standing up for what he feels strongly about, I said I totally agree with him that police performing illegal arrests is a very serious concern. This is a reflection of my ethical position and I didn’t think I was being anything less than obvious about that. The question is the legal issue of guilty mind/hand.

    Causing the police to arrest and process half a dozen people that needed to be extracted from trees etc is in itself disturbing the peace. Ignoring it was a protest you might support and ignoring it was a person you probably support unconditionally because you agree with his politics the question was one of intent to cause disruption and actually causing disruption.

  14. felix 15

    I wish Brett Dale were here to tell us they’re only protesting coz she’s white.

    • grumpy 15.1

      Dunno about Brett Dale but I would have more time for GP&J if they were seen targetting other individuals from countries they have issues with – or are they just a single cause outfit – a one trick pony?

  15. zelda 16

    Is it possible to get an injunction from the High Court before the protest begins preventing the Police from breaking the law by arresting you for merely being ‘noisy’.
    That way the guys in charge have to front up to a judge to explain their illegal actions.

    • lprent 16.1

      That may work. Interesting (albeit expensive) idea. The problem is that the police do need the power to arrest if someone goes over the bounds (apparently not in this case). That would make High Court judges very conservative about granting an injunction.

      If it did happen them arresting someone would pretty well get the arresting officer hauled up in court for contempt of court – which is really what it is.

  16. zelda 17

    Looking at the photos, did the police on duty remove their identity discs?

  17. burt 18

    The police, like police everywhere, have a strong tendency to a presumption of guilt. It kind of comes with the job. It is usually moderated by the courts.

    Correct, sworn police staff doing law at uni stand out like dogs bollox. They loose the term ‘defendant’ from their vocab and replace it with ‘offender’.

    As much as we need restrain on the police unlawfully arresting people we also need restrain on the use of police discretion to not arrest people. If we tolerate the police playing the ‘not in the public interest’ card when we think it is a good idea we are kind of obliged to accept them using the ‘in the public interest’ card when they want to as well. We can’t have it both ways lprent.

    • lprent 18.1

      The police should not be arresting and charging unless they have a good chance of getting a conviction at the time they did an arrest.

      Balancing acts like that are the purview of the courts. So after the police decline to proceed or the court declines to convict, it seems reasonable that the defendant should have a right to question the decision to arrest in front of a judge. The judge can use a reasonable police officer test (and you can bet that they will lean towards supporting public order).

      The majority of the sworn police officers do a good job. There are just some clowns that seem to disregard the law. I suspect that such a system would follow an 80/20 type ration. Less than 20% of the officers will account for 80% of the complaints for false arrest.

      So the penalties should be quite severe. I’d suggest a fine against the officers pay equivalent to a few weeks pay.

  18. Rob 19

    chanting ‘Shahar shame’ ‘shahar out’ and ‘blood on your hands’ doesnt really make the protesters point, no wonder they got arrested.

    Better chants next time, perhaps one related to the issues they claim they are protesting about…

    • zelda 19.1

      The Israeli military would put a few rounds of phosphorus shells into the tennis while the match is underway to stop it, and you disagree with blood on your hands for a person who works for the IDF?

      • Rob 19.1.1

        unfortunately military service is compulsory in Israel, and this is why she works as an administrative assistant for the IDF.

        She doesnt have a choice if she chooses to live in Israel. Typically, women are required to serve for 2 years

        • Jenny 19.1.1.1

          Everyone has a choice, and many Israeli citizens make this choice at great personal cost to themselves. Often facing gaol and detention by the Zionist state.

          The fact that Israel has mandatory conscription is no excuse. So did Hitler’s Germany and the Nuremburg courts ruled this out as a defence.

          Sharhar is not being asked to go as far as the refusniks. All she is being asked is to stop blindly living the high life while her country deals in racist oppression and murder. In fact her show of normality is a cover for these acts.

          During the aparthied regime the catchcry was no normal sport in an abnormal society.

    • Neil 19.2

      or perhaps organise an alternative tournament, have educational displays, talk with people rather than shout at them.

      disrupting the tennis tournament and provoking Police action haven’t been all that sucessful in gaining support for the Palestinian cause.

      • modern 19.2.1

        Hmm, yes, deep reflections on tactics – thanks

        Perhaps put them in a more relevant forum. The discussion here is about police actions, the legality and morality of them. But I’m sure GPJA would love to hear your insights ‘from the gut’, perhaps contact them.

  19. grumpy 20

    I have to laugh.

    Where was all this left wing outrage about the rule of law when Rocky was arrested for breaking into the chicken factory at Levin a few weeks ago?

    Just when it suits eh?

    • Pascal's bookie 20.1

      In the relevant thread dipshit.

      If someone breaks a law during some sort of protest action, and willingly submits to the legal consequences of that law breaking, then the rule of law is being respected. These posts are about the police going beyond the rule of law.

      It’s not difficult grumpy.

      • grumpy 20.1.1

        So you say…….

        So far you are only “alleging” that the police broke the law. They probably have another view and probably supported by legal opinion.

        We shall see.

        • lprent 20.1.1.1

          You want to take a bet on either a failure to bring a case forward, or the charge being thrown out, or a failure to convict, or if convicted in the district court it gets overthrown on appeal?

          Incidentally I only bet on sure things and where I know the area well…

          • Neil 20.1.1.1.1

            any of that could happen but the Police weren’t acting out of their own volition, they were responding to complaints about noise from the tournament organisers.

            They asked the protesters to desist and arrested those that didn’t.

            How would you have prefered the Police to have acted?

          • grumpy 20.1.1.1.2

            Like you, i’m not keen to take a bet on this. Freedom to demonstate is a fundamental part of NZ’s democratic system.

            If people feel strongly that police actions are against the law there is always the Police Complaints authority if nobody wants to go as far as bringing a case.

            Sounds like something that needs clarification.

      • rob 20.1.2

        Pascal’s Bookie,

        I think grumpy made a relevant comment. Leave it to the moderators to decide what can and cant be posted.

        • Pascal's bookie 20.1.2.1

          Where did I say his comment should be deleted or whatever?

          He said that folks were being hypocritical and alleged that in a previous post people were coming out against the rule of law. That is precisely false, as in the previous thread the arguments were in favour of the rule of law being applied.

          Ironically though, you seem to be claiming that my comment should be moderated.

          edit: I see what you mean now. I wasn’t saying his comment wasn’t relevant to this thread but replying to his question:

          Where was all this left wing outrage about the rule of law when Rocky was arrested for breaking into the chicken factory at Levin a few weeks ago?

          In the relevant thread dipshit.

          Perhaps I should have quoted it, but we have a reply function for a reason don’t we?

  20. burt 21

    lprent

    The police should not be arresting and charging unless they have a good chance of getting a conviction at the time they did an arrest.

    I think you side stepped my point lprent. What you say here is correct but along side that is;

    The police should be arresting and charging when they have a good chance of getting a conviction at the time they did an arrest.

    There has been a lot of debate over the last few years about police not charging the “above the law” people in NZ and in many cases you have supported that because it was in the best interest of your ideology and political favourites. Helen-I-Can’t-Be-Prosecuted Clark is a good example. How many times did we hear the line; There is a prima facie case but it is not in the public interest to prosecute.

    If you give police discretion other than the likelyhood of obtaining a conviction then you need to expect that discretion will work against you from time to time. You can’t have it both ways.

    I have long argued that police should not have discretion where it appears there is a case because that is the job of the courts, a case be be thrown out or a suspended sentence can be issued and this is the role of the courts – not the police.

    It seems that you are agreeing with me about that but only in the situations where people should not be charged and that you are side stepping the other side of the same coin.

  21. Jewish Kiwi 22

    I appreciate this thread is about the police, and not Shahar Peer. But as (they say on talkback), I am a long time listener and a first time caller. I can’t help but add my two cents.

    I have lived in Israel. I served in the IDF. I guess you could call me a zionist, but secular zionism, not religious zionism (please note that there is a difference). I have family and friends in Israel, but home is New Zealand.

    It does my head in to see Shahar Peer treated in this way. Protesting against a team like the Springboks is one thing, but it is quite horrible that Peer should shoulder all the sins of Israel on her own. Defence is paramount in Israel, and affects every aspect of peoples lives. You can’t equate an institution like the IDF with any other military apparatus. Yes, it bulldozes and kills, but it is also at the heart of Israeli society, and can;t be divorced from it. Peer serving is unremarkable.

    The proterstors seem to hold such a narrow, uncomplicated view of the situation in Israel/Palestine. There is a problem with those in the diaspora who feel compelled to defend Israel at all costs – claiming antisemitism every time criticsm is levelled at Israel does nothing for the internal political debate within Israel. There are many within Israel who want peace, and prostest for it constantly. The Gaza incursion last year was a travesty which had many people within Israel outraged, and gave ever more people within the IDF the courage to object to entering warfare.

    But these protestors aren’t helping the internal process within Isreal either – they are singling out an individual and proclaiming she has blood on her hands, when in reality she is merely a citizen within a democractic, multicultural state which exists as a pragmatic reality. She’s not exactly PW Botha. The protestors seem to be in denial of this.

    It appears a strange protest to test the attitudes of police with.

    • gitmo 22.1

      Thank you for your comments, they are reasoned, non bombastic and put most of the rest of us trolls to shame.

    • yesss 22.2

      JK is of course correct, this is “rent a protester” bods like Minto and his trainees trying to get some air time as the topic of protest is so confused its irrelevant.

    • prism 22.3

      jewish kiwi
      It is true that the protest is unfair on the tennis player. But it is essential that the world keeps bringing Israel face to face with itself. What a sad country the leaders have made, and the young population serving in the military accept the mindset of the military. And the war goes on in a set of deadly skirmishes. There are regular deaths caused by the Palestinian resistance to be returned in spades by Israel. Your Gaza stone is my Israeli grenade etc.

      Unfortunately most of the leading politicians are from the military and seem to both understand and deliberately inflame the Palestinians. It is a well-known political ploy to have an outside threat to keep a population supporting the status quo. Look at the Australians voting for that rat John Howard as soon as they felt threatened by boat people immigrants. The Jews around WW2 knew what it was like to escape by boat and then be refused a safe port.

      Meanwhile the rest of the world is impacted by the anger of the muslim world at the treatment of Palestinians by these implacably callous political leaders and manipulators.

      Protest is good. There should be more of it outside Israel. We know about Mossad, there must be a lot of control over people in Israel. Remember the anti nuclear guy, he was supposed to be released, but they imprisoned him again. They grabbed him in a foreign country too. Israel is bonded again, it has yet to break through its own machiavellian ties.

      • Jewish Kiwi 22.3.1

        Yes, you can surely write a litany of things which Israel now must face as its short history as a nation.

        But Shahar Peer is being forced bear the brunt of being the most high-profile Israeli to visit NZ in quite a while. And she’s just a frikken tennis player.

        Not caring to wait for something more significant to visit, like the Israeli synchronized swimming team, or whatever, these protesters are carrying on like this is another big moment akin to the Springbok tour.

        It just looks like a rinky-dink lynch mob. They really ought to save their energy.

        • prism 22.3.1.1

          The protests at the tennis have been effective in testing our freedoms to protest in NZ and encouraging people to look beyond their barbies and beer to where people are really suffering. Shame that their convenience and entertainment is being interfered with.
          I am sure I would be annoyed too if I was trying to watch the tennis. It would be all about me having an enjoyable time, having paid good money and not getting what I expected. Maybe I would need this non-violent reminder of other people’s chronic troubles.

      • gitmo 22.3.2

        Ummmmmm how is this rent a mob “bringing Israel face to face with itself ” ? the last couple of days seems to have been more to do with Baiting the police and trying to make some obtuse points about using loud hailers to protest than anything to do with Israel.

        On another note do you think it would be reasonable if at the same time as people “bringing Israel face to face with itself” people could “bring those in charge of the Palestinian territories face to face with themselves”

        I also note your comment about the Mossad and the people in Israel being ‘overly controlled’ I would have thought this was more prevalent in many of their neighbours than in Israel, I certainly thought it was a pretty open (press, etc) when I was pottering around over there.

  22. Mark E 23

    me and some mates spent two and a half hours being very annoying with our megaphone outside the Japanese embassy today at an anti whaling protest. The police drove past a couple of times and we never saw them again. which is how I like it.

    I suspect the heavy policing and confiscation of at least six auckland activist group megaphones has a lot to do with Hillary Clinton arriving next week . . .

    • gitmo 23.1

      “I suspect the heavy policing and confiscation of at least six auckland activist group megaphones has a lot to do with Hillary Clinton arriving next week . . .”

      I suspect the heavy policing and confiscation of at least six auckland activist group megaphones has a lot to do with the protest disturbing the peace at a public event.

      There fixed it for you

Links to post

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Swiss tax agreement tightens net
    Opportunities to dodge tax are shrinking with the completion of a new tax agreement with Switzerland, Revenue Minister Stuart Nash announced today. Mr Nash and the Swiss Ambassador David Vogelsanger have today signed documents to update the double tax agreement (DTA). The previous DTA was signed in 1980. “Double tax ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Maintaining momentum for small business innovation
    Small Business Minister Stuart Nash says the report of the Small Business Council will help maintain the momentum for innovation and improvements in the sector. Mr Nash has thanked the members of the Small Business Council (SBC) who this week handed over their report, Empowering small businesses to aspire, succeed ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Seventy-eight new Police constables
    Extra Police officers are being deployed from Northland to Southland with the graduation of a new wing of recruits from the Royal New Zealand Police College. “The graduation of 78 constables today means that 1524 new constables have been deployed since the government took office,” says Police Minister Stuart Nash. ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Tax refund season ends near $600 million
    Almost $600 million has been paid into taxpayers’ bank accounts in the past two months, after the first season of automatic tax assessments. Revenue Minister Stuart Nash says the completion of this year’s tax refund season is a significant milestone. “The ability of Inland Revenue to run auto calculations for ...
    3 weeks ago