Wellington protests against the Surveillance State (part rua)
Continued from: Wellington protests against the Surveillance State (part tahi)
NZ, Wellington, 27 July – Wellingtonians (and from further afield) met downtown in Cuba Mall, to protest National’s planned GCSB Bill.
Placards ranged from professionally printed;
– to the artistic and decorative;
To a simple, single, word;
Green Party co-leader, Russell Norman, walking in the midst of other marchers,
This shy young lad, eleven years old, made his own protest placard from scratch, downloading and pasting images from the internet. This was his first protest march;
A message that should strike anxiety the the fear of god into the hearts of politicians; losing votes when they piss people off;
Who says that young people aren’t interested in politics or political issues any more?
More young folk, with a very wise message to our elected representatives, Alex with his home-made placard;
At the intersection of Lambton Quay, Bowen St, and Whitmore St, one of the protest march organisers, Ariana (with loud-hailer), led an impromptu sit-down;
Valerie, taking pics of the event;
After about five or ten minutes, as the march was moving again to the gates of Parliament, this lone chap decided to yell out “retards” and other expletives at the protesters. His name is Eddie;
I went up to Eddie and asked his why he called the protesters “retards”.
Eddie was upset that buses had stopped moving up Lambton Quay and he was worried that the chicken he had bought at the supermarket would develop salmonella. He said the protesters should be marching along the footpath and not the road. I asked Eddie how 3,000 to 5,000 people could fit onto a footpath.
He had no response. He said the protest should have taken place when people weren’t at work. I suggested to him that a protest march of this size would be less of a nuisance to traffic on a Saturday afternoon than had been held during the week. I then asked him if he knew what the issues surrounding the GCSB Bill were, and that maybe it was important enough to warrant a temporary, minor inconvenience.
At first Eddie denied knowing anything about the issue. When asked again, he admitted knowing that the GCSB’s powers were to be expanded “to spy on us all”.
When I asked him if that was an important issue of public concern he muttered something and walked off.
I hope he enjoys his chicken.
Meanwhile, those with more pressing issues on their minds had reached the entrance to Parliament – only to find that the main gate had been locked. Only two side-gates, which were barely wide enough to allow passage for one or two people at a time, were open.
Undeterred, those who were fit, young, and with enthusiastic energy went over the gates as well as around;
Not quite the storming of the Bastille – but their hearts were in the right place;
A note to the smart-arse news-editors on TV3 who quipped that protesters climbed over the main gate “even though there was another gate open right next to them” – mis-representing an event does not inspire confidence in your ability to be accurate and fair in your reporting.
Try getting 3,000-plus people through a small gap in any meaningful period of time. The entrance-way in question is to the right of the main gate in the image below;
Very disappointing that TV3 chose to make such a cheap shot.
As people squeezed through the side entrances, others continued to climb the barrier. The symbolism was obvious;
This young woman – with the sign “We are NZ!!! Not USA!” – climbed the gate and grinned with satisfaction;
Once through (or over) the gates, New Zealand citizens made their way up the road through Parliament grounds;
More people arrived. In this shot, you can clearly see the bottleneck at the front gates;
Parliament’s grounds were once again in the possession of the People.
To be continued: Wellington protests against the Surveillance State (part toru)
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