Exclusive: Provocateurs attempt to disrupt March for Palestine, in Wellington!
Wellington, 24 November – A Solidarity-with-Gaza protest march in Wellington today was briefly marred when two young men wearing Jewish Kippah/Yarmulke walked at the front of the procession, and had to be led away by a lone police constable for their own protection.
The protest march, numbering approximately 100 to 150, marched along Wellington’s main streets, calling for justice for Palestine and for the ending of the illegal Israeli blockade of Gaza.
Organisors of the protest call themselves “Wellington Students for Justice in Palestine“. They are New Zealanders who stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people.
“We support Palestinian self-determination and Palestinian refugees’ right of return. We advocate a just solution to the conflict that allows Palestinians, Jews, and others to live in peace and equality regardless of religious or ethnic identity.”
According to a conversation overheard on a Wellington bus driver’s radio, the Police had not been alerted to the protest march – though it was well-organised and moved peacefully through the city,
The messages on placards and banners was simple and direct,
Students of history will recall that Nazi occupiers throughout Europe referred to various localised resistance movements as “terrorists”,
Men, women, and children – the procession moved peacefully through the streets of the city, with their chants echoing through the concrete-and-glass-walled canyons of the city,
One lone police car parked on an intersection, to slow down and divert on-coming traffic,
At this point, this blogger witnessed a lone police constable hauling two young men away from the front of the march,
My first thoughts were that individuals within the protest march had caused an ‘incident’, and were being arrested. Then I noticed their head-gear,
I also overheard snippets of conversation between the constable and the two young men; they had been pulled away from the protest march not because of breaking any law – but for their own safety. The constable was adamant that the pair would not be permitted to return to the protest march.
One of the young men responded that it was his right to freedom of expression,
The constable replied that either they walked away, or they would end up in a police car – for their own protection. She was in no mood to be playing silly-buggers with this pair of fools,
As the two young men walked away from the protestors, this blogger caught up with them and tried to find out what their intentions were,
They began with a curious comment that they did not want to be recorded because it was their “Holy Sabbath”. When pressed what they meant, the following conversation was recorded,
Him: “I’m gonna ask you not to record anything today.”
Frank: “Well it can’t be too much of a Holy Sabbath if you’re down here to protest [the] march, and walking in front of it.”
Him: “Well, they chose that day unfortunately. I’m talking, I’m allowed to talk.”
Frank: “Well that’s right, so, what have you got to say for yourself as to why you were standing in front of them? What was your message?”
Him: “I don’t want to be recorded on my sabbath. Is that… Can you respect that?”
Frank: “Alright, well, ok, but can I ask you then-“
Him: “I can give you my email address. You can memorise it, write it down, whatever you want. You can email me, you can interview me later, how’s that?”
Frank: “Ok. Do you think it was appropriate to put yourself in front of that protest march? Any comments, sir?”
Him: “Who are you?”
Frank: “I’m a blogger-“
Him: “Ok, you can take my email address if you want, but no recordings.”
Frank: “-I’m a blogger, Frank Macskasy, and I’m covering this.”
Him: [no response]
Frank: “Ok, thanks gentlemen.”
Him: “Thank you.”
The pair then walked off,
This blogger then returned to the body of the march; the passionate chanting and vocal demands for justice for Palestine still very strong,
Standing beside one of the protestors, she informed me that “they’ve been here the whole time… they often come to these things“.
She asked me what they had said, and I repeated their refusal to go on record with a taped interview, claiming it breached their Sabbath. Did it stop them chanting their own pro-Israel slogans in front of the march?
“Oh no,” she replied.
Perhaps the two young gentlemen felt shy in expressing themselves – without backup from the Israeli Army?
The protest march made it’s way to Wellington’s civic centre,
A young Palestinian, Mohammed, addressed the crowd, which had swelled along the way to the Civic Square,
In part, he said,
“… Since 1948, when they stole our land, killed our people, and displaced millions of us. And up till now Israel continues their massacres, their discriminations against Palestinians, again and again.
More then ten thousand prisoners, waiting for their human rights, waiting for freedom in Israel’s jails.
[cries of ‘Shame! ‘ from the crowd]
Last week they started their attack, their war over Gaza, over the civilians in Gaza. And they killed 162 civilians, including children, women, elderly, and men. More than 1,200 severe injuries. This attack on Gaza is by no means the last crime of Israel on Gaza.
Once the ceasefire agreement has been signed with the [distorted word] government of Israel, they arrested more than fiftyfive people in the West Bank and their ‘mistake’ was just to be demonstrating against the attack on Gaza. Yesterday two young people were shot by Israeli forces around the border with Gaza.
[cries of ‘Shame! ‘ from the crowd]
Even the seige of Gaza is still going on which prevents essential needs to be delivered to the people of Gaza. And quite simply I would say, as any Palestinian says, we’ll never forget our people who are killed by Israeli forces. We will never forget our land. We will never give up.
Thank you so much for joining us today in solidarity with Palestine, especially the Gaza.”
Despite english being his second language, those listening to Mohammed understood the meaning and pain inherent in his words.
How many times have we heard similar words from around the world, where people are repressed with harsh brutality.
In the past, New Zealand has played it’s part in rejecting repressive regimes, and standing firm with people suffering from suppression. We’ve done it before, we can do it again.
The Palestinian people deserve our support and friendship.
“Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves.”
– Abraham Lincoln
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