Auckland protesters fly Palestinian flag from the U.S. Embassy flagpole!
Yesterday’s Global Peace and Justice “Solidarity With Gaza” march from Aotea Square to the U.S. Embassy in Auckland, New Zealand, was one of the most exciting Auckland actions to date.
The turn-out was huge despite short notice and pouring rain that had us all soggy in no time (causing slippery cellphone syndrome for us citizen journalists!) with as many as 300 or more protesters in attendance.
The march visibly swelled as it snaked its way down Queen Street towards the U.S. Consulate on Customs Street, near Auckland’s Princes Wharf.
Umbrella’s of every colour of the rainbow shielded the crowd from above, while colourful costuming and signs galore provided ample eye-candy to accompany the consistent chanting of people’s voices in protest at the atrocities of the never-ending Israel-Palestine conflict.
The most astonishing and unexpected aspect of the event was the disparate if not entirely invisible police presence. There were in fact NO marshalling police vehicles on the Queen Street march (a first-time experience for us, in every action we have covered there have been police marshalling and/or mustering and/or significant police and private security presence, sometimes into the many hundreds of officers.)
We assumed (the mother of all…) that the police must be amassed at the Embassy yet once we all arrived there, only 2 police vehicles and a half dozen police emerged and were VERY low key about their presence.
At the Embassy the crowd watched in awe and amazement as a Palestinian flag was raised above the Consulate, on their very own flagpole!
Approximately 30 protesters threw old shoes at the Embassy to display their disgust at U.S. foreign policy. There were several speeches from the soundtruck and a song.
That an action on such a contentious topic as this could go virtually unattended by the NZ Police is a massive shift in tactics on their part.
That the events ended naturally with protesters peacefully dispersing of their own accord, entirely unmolested by authorities, makes a pleasant change from the constant brutality exerted against the public at the student’s Blockade The Budget protests, and at the Glen Innes House Defense protests, throughout 2012.
It was certainly nice to see the police film squad also absent. At least, the uniformed ones anyway!
We hope this signals a new focus for police; away from unnecessarily expending resources on suppressing democratic dissent and shadowing activists to instead funneling those resources on fighting actual crime, and surveilling actual criminals.
Video of Palestinian flag flying above embassy: (clarification; we did not see the U.S. flag come down so flagpole may have been empty with no ambassador in residence however Palestinian flag was raised and flown above the consulate!!!)
Protesters throwing their shoes at the U.S. Embassy in protest:
We are still processing pics from the event, and will insert a gallery here ASAP. In the meantime, tons of pics of the event are already published in our online newspaper; The Occupied NZ Herald
Global Peace & Justice Website
Official event press release
Facebook event page
Other noteworthy coverage;
OCCUPY NEW ZEALAND MEDIA TEAM