2006 - Indymedia Highlights

Here are some of the stories that YOU published on your local Indymedia Centre in 2006. The struggle continues - see you on the barricades!

Your Aotearoa Indymedia Crew

Tino Rangatiratanga - Tangata Whenua:
Land occupations took place in Taurewa, Ngati Aukiwa and Tuhoe set up a road blockade in Waimana. Tame Iti was found guilty of firearm charges for firing a gun at a protest in early 2005 in the Ruatoki Valley. Also, the United States, Australia and New Zealand are the only countries that remain in opposition to the proposed Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous People, which recognises the principle of indigenous sovereignty.

The peope in Tonga are rising up against the monarchy and the government. Riots broke out on 16 November after a pro-democracy demonstration in Nuku'alofa which destroyed large parts of the central city [ 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 ] while in Auckland a Tongan activist rammed the gate of the King's residency. Riots also took place in the Solomon Islands in April while Kanaky workers went on a big strike in New Caledonia and converged in December to forge a global alliance to escalate the struggle against neo-liberalism and colonisation [ Report ]. The struggle for freedom continues in West Papua and in Timor Leste. The NZ and Australian governments have sent troops to various Pacific coutries to crush the people's desire for change [ Solomons | Tonga ].

Animal Rights:
35 Chickens were liberated in Auckland in November and 20 battery hens were liberated during an open rescue in Foxton. Auckaldn Animal Action have stepped up their actions, which included protests against duck shooting, and the Campgaing Against Factory Farming activists have also very busy.

Workers Rights:
2006 was an inspiring year for workers, marked by the growing number of industrial disputes, worker militancy and the increasingly class consouis corporate elite. In February nearly 200 freezing workers went out on strike at a Wellington freezing works for three days to protest low wages and bad conditions. In Auckland the SuperSizeMyPay.Com campaign united workers and the community in a public rally to stop low pay, at community pickets during lightning strikes of McDonalds, KFC, Pizza Hutt and Starbucks workers. By the end of Februrary workers were sticking it to their bosses all across the country.

In March, Unite's struggle with McDonalds heated up when minimum wage workers took McDonalds to court for obstructing workers from joining unions and discriminating against those who had. On March 18 1000 workers and supporters marched up Queen St to the "Big Pay Out" concert to rock against youth rates and for a $12 minimum wage and secure hours. May Day 2006 was a day of massive protests for worker and immigrant rights around the world, and in Aotearoa, youth and students again marched against youth rates and for $12 an hour. Things looked glum for workers in the middle of the year during a showdown with the National Party's 90-Day No Rights Bill. Unions mobilised their mebers in two of the largest demonstrations Aotearoa saw in 2006 at Parliament in July and in Tamaki Makaurau in August to finally "Kill the Bill". Cleaners began to mobilise across the world through the Clean Start campaign and demonstrations in Auckland and Wellington were held on International Justice for Cleaners Day, Anti-Poverty Day and outside the cleaning industry awards. August and September saw another mass mobilisation of workers when Supermarket Supply Chain Strikes erupted across Aotearoa. In the same period there were Cutbacks, suspensions, redundancies as multinational corporations waged class warfareon workers and the supermarket supply chain strikes turned into a lockout that finally ended with both sides declared victory after 23 days of workers being locked out. A Wildcat occupation by Feltex workers during the liquidation of the company showed the country the power of illegal tactics, while at the same time workers in Auckland fought back at continuing elite attack and deteriorating pay and conditions.

International Women's Day was celebrated across Aotearoa and the world on Wednesday 8th March. In April, a group of women handed out over a thousand leaflets in Wellington with suppressed information after Assistant Police Commissioner Clint Rickards and former cops Bob Schollum and Brad Shipton were acquitted by a jury of raping Louise Nicholas. A spokeswoman for the group said "it has come to our attention that continuing to spread this information may negatively affect other rape survivors and this is the last thing we want. It is extremely frustrating that in this culture of secrecy we cannot even talk about why we are no longer handing out the leaflets. It is impossible for women to find justice within the misogynist legal system." [ Feature ] The following month it was made public that the three are all heading back to court again on more rape charges. “We believe that the further charges vindicate Louise Nicholas. We believe that these men systematically abused their power, and raped many women, and this further set of charges demonstrates that what they did to Louise Nicholas was not an isolated case” said Grace Millar of 'Women Against Rape'. [ Feature ] We in Indymedia had big arguments whether to publish the suppressed information or not. Three people have since been charged with spreading suppressed information of which two were convicted in Christchurch. Towards the end of the year a Take Back the Night took place in Auckland and a Reclaim the Night in Wellington.

On the West Coast of the South Island a 90 person occupation escalated the national campaign against the Happy Valley mine. the occupation has been ongoing since January last year and other campaign actions have included the scaling of Solid Energy HQ in February. The Grim Reaper stalked the NZ embassy in London to protest the governments stand on terminator genes and Coal Industry Lobbyists Created a Stink at Te Papa in March. GE campaigners refocussed attempts to Stop GE with Local Body regulations in April while the world took to the streets in November to mark the Global day of action against climate change.

The global Indymedia network celebrated seven years of people reclaiming their media and the birth of two new IMCs; London, Ontario in Canada and Ukraine Indymedia. The next generation of IMCs is almost here with the Indymedia Alternatives project well on it's way to becoming an IMC. The IMC network also mourned the death of our beloved companero and New York IMC journalist Brad Will, whose death at the hands of right-wing paramilitaries in Oaxaca is a great loss for the IMC network.

Anti-war actions included protests against the US occupation of Iraq, Israel's occupation of Palestine and war against Lebanon and actions against the New Zealand companies who make profit from killing. The protests in March against the US occupation of Iraq drew several hundred people in Auckland and Wellington, resulting in 5 arrests outside the US embassy. In August, Israel attacked southern Lebanon and the anti-war movement here responded with demonstrations in Wellington, Dunedin and Auckland. [ 1 | 2 | 3 ] The National Distribution Union who represent packing and distribution workers in New Zealand has condemned the Israeli air strike on a Lebanese fruit-packing warehouse that killed 33 farm workers. A ">group called 'Aotearoa Jews for Justice' said they stand "in solidarity with the Lebanese and Palestinian people suffering at the hands of the Israeli army. […] We draw from a long tradition of Jews who have campaigned for social justice and against racism and colonialism regardless of where it has occurred." Two hundred protesters caused major disruption for four hours to the annual forum of the New Zealand Defence Industry Association (NZDIA) held at Te Papa in October. Scuffles broke out between the demonstrators and the police as Te Papa was gradually surrounded by more and more blockades; eventually eight blockades were put in place and Te Papa was shut to the public for the rest of the day.

Auckland group Radical Youth was very active. Around 1000 students participated in a walk-out in March to protest against youth rates. In Chile, Germany and Greecestudents were on the barricades and Maori students hikoied to parliament in support of the Manaaki Tonu Te Tauira campaign.

In Wellington a user-pays system for water stirred dissent. As did the Police trial of Tasers especially when the Police produced misleading statements abouth their use. A US activist was imprisoned in Dunedin and deported in October while Iranian asylum seeker Thomas Yadegary marked the beginning of his third year in Mt.Eden prison. A fascist rally was chased out of Wellington in October and in December Kerry P. got water bombed in a protest against the Wellington 'Bypass' To round it all off in late December protesters 'nailed' themselves to the asphalt of the Bypass on its opening day to send the message that we need to calm the climate, and we don't need any more roads!

Indymedia also focussed on covering the start of the Zapatistas "Other Campaign" in Mexico and the protests against the World Economic Forum in January. The EZLN announced a red alert in May while June marked the begining of the Oaxaca Uprising in South-West Mexico that later came under state attack in October. The uprising coninued to strengthen, build and inspire the world even under heavy state repression which terrorised the city.

Israel steped up attacks on Gaza in July and by November Palestinians declared that "No-one is safe" as scores of people were killed and injured by the ongoing attacks.

Check out www.indymedia.org for more stories from all around the world.

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