Fugitive Rice makes narrow escape in Auckland
30 Jul 2008 16:50 GMT
United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice made a narrow escape from justice, with the assistance of the New Zealand Police, in Auckland on Saturday 26 July. The police can now consider themselves accessories to war crimes. Rice met with government leaders in Auckland but was chased by 150 protesters spurred on by a bounty of $10,000. They called for her arrest, under the Geneva Convention, for war crimes and for her role in authorising the use of torture.
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Links: Condi Must Go | Our World is Not For Sale | Uriohau: Haere Atu Condoleezza | TV3 Video Coverage
Rice Bounty: AUSA offers $5000 for citizen's arrest of Rice | AUSA to lodge police complaint over Rice visit | AUSA: Further Development Regarding Citizen's Arrest | VUWSA Doubles Bounty On Condy's Head
There was chanting, speeches and an impressive US flag burning outside Government House where Rice was meeting with prime minister Helen Clark and foreign affairs minister Winston Peters. The speeches focused on Rice's support for the illegal and immoral war in Iraq, as well as the wider and more nonsensical 'War on Terror'; her sanctioning of torture and instrumental role in setting up Guantanamo Bay; and on what a bad idea a free trade agreement with the US would be. Then the crowd relocated to the Langham Hotel, where Rice met with leader of the parliamentary opposition, John Key.
Auckland University Students Association had to withdraw the bounty it placed on the head of Condoleezza Rice two days earlier, under threat of legal action. However, the students association at Victoria University in Wellington doubled the price, offering $10,000 for a successful citizen's arrest. Although several people turned up to the demo with handcuffs, the chance to nab Rice didn't present itself. Police refused to cooperate in the arrest of this war criminal, giving the irrelevant excuse that she is a visiting dignitary.
Police had planned to limit protest at the Langham hotel by keeping protesters on the opposite side of the road, behind shiny new barricades that had obviously been bought specially for the occasion. What they hadn't planned for was a busload of protesters being dropped off at the bus stop outside the hotel. After fifteen minutes of chanting and yelling by protestors, the police claimed that standing on the public footpath outside the hotel, was a 'safety risk.' When protesters refused to leave, the police violently forced them off the sidewalk and out onto the road. Protesters were shoved, punched and thrown to the street and pain compliance holds used on several protesters to get them to move. Several were punched in the face, including veteran activist John Minto who was shoved to the ground by several officers, smashing and breaking the megaphone he was chanting through. Two protesters were arrested and one man was left bleeding from the neck and wrist.
NoRightTurn: How we should deal with torturers | Will the police enforce the law? | We should arrest this war criminal