PGA Bulletin

Peoples' Global Action against “Free” Trade and the WTO

Issue number 2, June 1998

Part II:
May Actions Pacific


On Wed 22 April morning, the Hikoi – a march by indigenous Maori from Northland down to parliament in Wellington to oppose the Multilateral Agreement on Investment – crossed the Harbour bridge in Auckland. Several arrest vans quickly arrived and people were put in, but one person we saw be held down on the ground quite vigorously for quite some time before he was hauled off. Several people were dragged from cars to be arrested, some vehicles were searched, and a 13 year-old boy put in a police van.

Once on the other side, at the end of the Ponsonby off-ramp people once again collected, along with the police and the vans of arrested people. There was a lot of emotion about the police's heavy-handedness, and the arrest of the 13 year-old, who was subsequently released. A kaumatua (Maori elder) gave a speech about the situation and how the Hikoi was to continue, followed by a short prayer, and the Hikoi continued up to Ponsonby Road, then down into central Auckland and down Queen Street, the city's main shopping precinct (and with recently restored electricity!). They spent the night at an Auckland Marae and intend to continue on the journey to Wellington, the capital city, about 600 kilometres away.

more aotearoa/NZ global action days: N30 - S26



Brisbane Street Party (16 May) – Loads of police tried to stop the party from happening, arresting lots of people in front of the cameras of several television channels. It took the police approx. 1 hour to turn off the sound system. This was followed by more than 2 hours of drumming and whistling. A small but effervescent crowd partied till dark and then went home. According to the organizers, “The passion and excitement were incredibly present and the interference from police may have been irritating and unnecessary but it will never deter us from future events.”
more brisbane global action days: N30


Sydney street party (16th May) went off like a dream, a resounding success that everyone described as the best party ever. As the crowd gathered from 1 pm in Belmore Park, speakers gave updates on the burning issues of the NSW Forests Campaign, Jabiluka Uranium Mine, the Multilateral Agreement on Investment and the global dimensions of the RTS movement – and the RTS Art Department festooned the crowd with a colourful array of banners, placards and assorted adornments. Estimates of numbers on the 2 km march to the site range from 2000 to 4000, by far the biggest RTS/climate/globalization protest seen in Sydney. In a futile, misguided and potentially hazardous attempt to maintain some sense of self-worth and authority, the coppers tried to keep us to one of the three lanes, but gave up on this idea before too long, and the parade went on.

The Logistics Crew installed the Rock Stage, Central Techno Sound Tower and Hip-Hop/Reggae/Dub sound stages, and the party began in earnest. Orange and Black bamboo tripods marked out each end of the reclaimed space. Out spread the carpets and sofas in the lounge space, three chai stalls, food fundraiser, skateboard skate rail, a five terminal sidewalk internet station, two sandstone sculptors, poets, fire twirlers, street gardeners, recycling and rubbish bins ...

Apart from an exceedingly irate restaurateur who closed down and roamed around for over an hour and a half looking for something to hit, everything was cool, smooth and unfolded as envisioned. An ambulance passed through the emergency access lane through the site late in the piece, people melting quickly to the sides. Cops were almost totally chilled, despite a few attempts from some of the lower rank to assert their authority. No arrests, no hassles, smooth pack down. So if the coppers try and bring the batons out on you, why not ask them why Sydney police doesn't see it necessary to do it?
more sydney global action days: S26

index of part II