An activist organisation is accusing the Aotearoa New Zealand police of brutality after arrests were made at a pro-Palestine protest in Lyttelton today.
About 60 people took part in the protest at Lyttelton Port this morning, and police said four people were arrested about 1pm after blocking traffic.
Protesters had blocked a tunnel and poured a liquid onto the road, a police spokesperson said.
Charges were being considered.
Palestine Solidarity Network Aotearoa (PSNA) secretary Neil Scott issued a statement saying members were “repulsed” by police actions at the protest, which he labelled “disgusting”.
“The police arrested seven people and pepper sprayed many, including senior citizens protesting peacefully,” Scott said.
Scott said the group was 17 weeks into protests calling for a ceasefire in Israel’s war on Gaza and for the government to condemn the violations since last month’s International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruling.
Police ‘aggression’ increased
Police “aggression” toward the protest activities had been increasing during that time, Scott said, and the group wanted an investigation into officers’ actions at the latest protest.
Protest organiser Ihorangi Reweti-Peters told RNZ that police used “brute force” to stop protesters from blocking the road.
“Police were sort of rarking people up and saying, ‘come on then’, and ‘do it’.”
“Everyone was sprayed — pepper sprayed — and then the people were arrested.”
Three of those arrested had been released by early this evening, Reweti-Peters said.
Police have been contacted for comment.
- Protest organisers are planning a pro-Palestine protest at Parliament and the US Embassy in Wellington next Tuesday.
Article by AsiaPacificReport.nz