Tuesday, May 21

LGB Alliance Aotearoa New Zealand open letter

27 March 2023

To,
Rt Hon Chris Hipkins, Prime Minister
Hon Carmel Sepuloni, Deputy Prime Minister
Hon Ginny Andersen, Minister of Police & Minister for Seniors
Hon Jan Tinetti, Minister for Women
Hon Priyanca Radhakrishnan, Minister for the Community & Voluntary Sector, Disability Issues, Diversity, Inclusion, & Ethnic Communities
Hon Willie Jackson, Minister for Broadcasting & Media
Andrew Coster, Commissioner of Police

We, LGB Alliance Aotearoa New Zealand (herein ‘Alliance’), are horrified at the political violence, abuse, and intimidation inflicted on women, girls, and seniors at a public women’s & children’s rights rally, Let Women Speak (LWS) Auckland, on Saturday 25th March 2023 at the band rotunda, Albert Square.

Kellie-Jay Keen, a visiting women’s rights campaigner, alongside various NZ women’s, lesbians’, children’s, education, and disability rights activists, were violently assaulted and intimidated out of their designated, council permit location where they sought to exercise their freedom of expression.

Saturday’s events can only be described as the result of a week’s-long, highly irresponsible and dangerous disinformation campaign between NZ Members of Parliament, NZ media, and trans/gender-identity-centric ‘Rainbow’ groups, to slander Kellie-Jay Keen and local women’s rights campaigners as ‘neo-Nazis’ and ‘white supremacists’. Kellie-Jay Keen was forced to flee the country out of safety concerns. Women, girls, seniors, and other attendees of LWS Auckland bear bruises, scars, and psychological trauma in its aftermath.

NZ Police’s inaction and ill-preparedness to ensure public safety and rights to freedom of expression and freedom of peaceful assembly is inexcusable. The counter-protest was widely promoted by media and politicians. The Alliance’s Terri Lipanovic, an organiser of LWS NZ, asked police officers 3 times to please clear the area around the rotunda of counter-protesters of which they had a council permit. In return, Terri received blank stares and fudging about finding the Senior Sergeant.

Some of the known, including worldwide broadcasted, violence on the day:

  • A senior woman was brutally punched in the face/head multiple times by a man. 
  • A senior man was violently elbowed in the jaw by a man.
  • Two women, Kellie-Jay Keen and LWS NZ’s Tania Sturt, were doused in a liquid by a man.
  • A mother and her young daughter tried to escape the violence to the female toilets only to be
  • confronted by men intimidating them at their need to seek safety in a female-only space.
  • Numerous LWS organisers & attendees were crushed and bruised as they tried to escape the violence.

In response to such a horrific day for women and girls in this country, we have the following demands:

  • We demand public condemnation of the political violence and intimidation targeting women, children, and seniors at Let Women Speak Auckland by the Prime Minister and all the Ministers of relevant portfolios that this letter is addressed to.
  • We demand a full apology to the victims and public from the Minister of Police, Commissioner of Police, and relevant Senior Sergeant for the failings of the NZ Police to ensure peace and order and to uphold the peoples’ rights to freedom of expression and freedom of peaceful assembly.
  • We demand a full investigation into what led to NZ police failings to ensure peace and order and to uphold the peoples’ rights to freedom of expression and freedom of peaceful assembly.
  • We demand that every effort is made to prosecute all those who committed political acts of violence against members of the NZ public, Kellie-Jay Keen, and any other visitors to NZ affected.
  • We demand full investigations into the professional conduct of publicly-funded media outlets & journalists who dangerously slandered Kellie-Jay Keen and NZ women’s & children’s rights campaigners as aligned with neo-Nazis and white supremacists.
  • We demand full investigations into the professional conduct of organisations and charities who dangerously slandered Kellie-Kay Keen and NZ women’s & children’s rights campaigners as aligned with neo-Nazis and white supremacists, and who organised the protest that breached its own responsibility of freedom of peaceful assembly while physically eroding others’ right to freedom of peaceful assembly. The protest was a violation of freedom of expression.

Attached on the following page is a statement by UK human rights, women’s rights, LGB rights and child safeguarding groups condemning violent protests preventing women from speaking in New Zealand. We endorse their statement and thank them for their solidarity.

LGB Alliance Aotearoa New Zealand
Signed:
Terri Lipanovic
Hamish McGregor

LGB Alliance Aotearoa New Zealand is a LGB rights advocacy group run by Kiwi volunteers

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