Tuesday, August 06, 2019

People power wins the night

Last night the police dramatically incresed their numbers at Ihumātao, shoving over protestors and threatening them with arrest. Despite police talk about the need to maintain "public order" and prevent a "breach of the peace", there appeared to be absolutely no justification for this: the protest camp is, was, and always has been orderly and peaceful. The only people not being peaceful were the police.

The good news is that it ended happily: the protesters put out the call, people showed up, and the police were forced to leave, their dirty midnight attempt at eviction a failure. People power won.

Questions now need to be asked, not only of the police, but also of the Prime Minister. Does her commitment that the protesters will be allowed to remain mean nothing? Is she dealing in bad faith here? At the moment, it looks like she is - and her continual attempts to imply that the protesters are somehow violent only adds to this perception. She is going to pay a price for that at the ballot box next year.