8 Arrested at tennis match protesting Israeli occupation

More photographs here.

8 people have been arrested over the past week, two of them today, for protesting outside the ASB Tennis Centre due to the presence of Israeli tennis player Shahar Peer. The protests are part of the global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign, initiated in 2005 after an appeal from 170 Palestinian civil society organisations including trade unions, political and social organizations, and women’s and youth groups. The campaign calls for boycotts, divestment and sanctions against Israeli until it complies with international law and universal principles of human rights.

According to Global Peace and Justice Auckland, the organisation behind this weeks protests, “A campaign around BDS of Israel has a power in NZ precisely because of its association with similar, successful campaigns against South African apartheid.” In the 1970s and 80’s New Zealand had a large anti-apartheid movement that targeted New Zealand’s sporting contacts with South Africa. John Minto, founder of Halt All Racist Tours (HART) one of the main organisations in that movement, was among those arrested at yesterdays protests.

The police have claimed the arrests were made due to excessive noise which annoyed those in attendance at the tennis match, however this is unlikely to hold up in court. According to the precedent set by Rees vs Police in 2006;

“It is not correct to say that in exercising the right to protest, a citizen has the duty not to annoy. It is permissible, within limits, for a citizen to annoy others while protesting. It is not enough that the conduct is irritating or ill mannered or in bad taste. Protestors often set out to cause irritation, to attract attention to their message. That is not in itself illegitimate, or a breach of the criminal law.”

Protester Joe Carolan told stuff.co.nz yesterday “all the leaders of the movement have been singled out today, if that’s not political policing I don’t know what is.” The news website reported that police had a greater presence, including a helicopter which was “making much more noise than the protesters.”

by Byron Clark. For the Workers Party campaign of solidarity with Palestine, click here.


  1. Philip Ferguson says:

    I know John M was the leading figure/spokesperson for HART at the time of the 1981 tour, but HART was founded in 1969. I think the key founding figure was Trevor Richards.

    John M might have been an original member, but he would have only been 16 in 1969. Even if he was very precocious, as many of us young folk were back then, I doubt he would have been *the founder* of HART.


  2. Tiger Mountain says:

    It is important to get the facts right on a marxist site, and much of the detail of the founding of HART is in Trevor Richards 1999 book “Dancing on our bones”. Richards is rather miserly it has to be said though on the Auckland end of the anti tour mobilisation. He was keener on various dubious African diplomats top level manouvering than sniffing out the class politics of the situation which John Minto managed very well. The ending of apartheid was the tactical price paid to keep South Africa in the capitalist fold.

  3. Don Franks says:

    Yes, Trevor Richards was the founder of HART and his book “Dancing on our bones” preserves much of the long NZ antiaparthied struggle history very well.
    In my view one weakness of Trevor’s book is that it does not do justice to John Minto’s substantial contribution.

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