You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

No arrests from defence forum scuffles

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 15/11/2016

Police made no arrests on Wednesday despite children being caught up in scuffles at the country's annual defence industry conference.

Dozens of protesters, armed with flags, drums and signs, clashed with police by breaking through barriers erected outside the Defence Industry Association's Forum at the Viaduct Events Centre in Auckland.

Several were pushed back as they ran through the police line towards the centre's main door, leaving people on the ground.

Auckland City District Commander Superintendent Karyn Malthus called on protesters to think of the safety of themselves and others ahead of plans for more protests this week.

"Police are concerned that a number of protesters behaved in a way that created safety issues, both for others at the protest and delegates attempting to enter the conference," she said.

Earlier, as the forum's the first delegate arrived, a small group chased the man, forcing a contingent of security guards to shove them out of the way as he was escorted in via a side entrance.

Unable to get through later, some other delegates turned back to massive roars from the crowd.

Mother Rosie McCaw, 27, was left on the ground, huddling over her two daughters, Cleo, 5, and Kora Henry, 2, after the kids were knocked over by a moving scuffle as they ate lunch.

"We came here with a whole lot of love to share and what do we get? We get bowled over. My children are scared. By the police people who are supposed to be protectors," she said.

Ms McCaw said she had brought her children to the protest expecting peaceful demonstration and would not be put off doing it again.

Police formed a tight ring around the building's front door, with demonstrators sitting on the ground chanting slogans.

Members of the Strormtrooper gang from Palmerston North stood waving a Tino Rangatiratanga flag near the entrance.

Last year more than two dozen protesters were arrested in skirmishes with police outside the association's forum in Wellington.

The conference is being attended by about 700 defence industry and government representatives and is sponsored by global weapons manufacturer Lockheed Martin.

The association said the sector generates $60 million for the economy.

NZDIA chair Bernie Diver said the forum will bring together 170 businesses from a sector that employs 2500 people and pays $125m in wages.

While some suppliers provided weaponry, he said the vast majority supplied New Zealand soldiers equipment to undertake maintenance, repairs, logistics, engineering and other civil services.

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon