AUCKLAND (Asia Pacific Report/Pacific Media Centre/Pacific Media Watch): Veteran campaigner John Minto, UNITE union national director Mike Treen and other speakers today called on New Zealanders to “mobilise” against involvement in any war on Iran.
Hundreds were at the rally in Aotea Square in Auckland followed by a march to the United States consulate in protest over its “warmongering” in the Middle East.
Protests also took place in Wellington and Waihopai, the NZ spy base for the Western “Five Eyes” communications network led by the US.
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“Don’t Attack Iran”, “No war with Iraq or Iran!”, “NZ Troops out Now!” and “Shut down the Waihopai Spy Base!” and other slogans featured on placards at all three protests.
“All foreign troops – including New Zealand soldiers – need to leave Iraq now,” said Minto.
“We need to mobilise much bigger numbers than we did in 2003 – and I think we will.”
Minto said for NZ and other foreign soldiers to remain there in defiance of the Iraqi government’s recent request for them to leave was an “act of war”.
Minto, a co-founder of GPJA, now lives in Christchurch.
Support for the Auckland protest came from the Green Party, First Union, Unite Union, Love Aotearoa Hate Racism, Radio Inqilaab, Migrant Workers Association of Aotearoa, Anti-Bases Campaign and Socialist Aotearoa.
“Since calling this protest we have received endorsements from across New Zealand and as a result, GPJA has changed its name to Global Peace and Justice Aotearoa,” said Treen.
“We seek to link activists from around the country to build a strong movement for peace and justice.”
Those backing the protest include Iranian-born MP Golriz Ghahraman, Green Party foreign affairs, defence, and human rights spokesperson. who was unable to attend in person.
“My apologies and huge appreciation for the kaupapa of the anti-war march in Auckland, especially as a victim of American war profiteering in Iran and Iraq,” she told the organisers in a message of support.