Protesters forming human blockade at defence conference in Auckland

The protest coincides with the arrival of the USS Sampson in New Zealand for navy anniversary celebrations. Photo / File
The protest coincides with the arrival of the USS Sampson in New Zealand for navy anniversary celebrations. Photo / File

Protesters are forming a human blockade at a defence industry conference in central Auckland today.

The annual New Zealand Defence Industry Association Forum is being held at the ANZ Viaduct Events Centre.

The world's largest nuclear arms manufacturer, Lockheed Martin, is the main sponsor of the forum, which will be attended by arms dealers from all over the world.

Protest organisers Auckland Peace Action organised the blockade to stop the opening of the forum at 8am. More than 500 people have said they will join the protest.

Protesters will be addressed by former Auckland mayoral candidate Chloe Swarbrick, Nobel Peace Prize nominee Dr Helen Caldicott, Auckland councillor Cathy Casey and Patrick Hinchcliff, the grandson of the AUT University founder.

"The arms trade simply has no place in a civilised society," Auckland Peace Action spokeswoman Virginia Lambert said.

"We are taking non-violent direct action to stop this expo from happening."

The blockade is part of the Week of Peace, a series of peace actions to counter the forum and presence of navy warships in Auckland for the 75th Anniversary celebrations of the Royal New Zealand Navy on the Waitemata Harbour.

"We want to work for peace, not prepare and fund wars."

The anniversary celebrations were brought forward a day because of expected bad weather.

- NZ Herald

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