Yesterday, Ani contacted you about the disturbing scenes we saw at Albert Park, where women’s rights activist, Posie Parker, attempted to hold a ‘Let Women Speak’ Rally. Gender is one of the ‘scared cows’ of our modern day, which no one is ‘allowed’ to challenge or criticise.
It would have been one thing if the counter-protest had stayed beyond the cordon, had made their points, and even debated with the Let Women Speak presenters. But resorting to throwing sauce, breaking the barriers, and hounding the event out of a public space is not an exercise in tolerance or free speech.
Join us in condemning the threats and intimidation we saw yesterday, as well as the Police’s failure to defend the fundamental right to free speech.
You can read the letter and add your name here*
Our concern that someone may be hurt or killed is a mournful acknowledgement that peace and freeedom in society are not always guaranteed. Free speech is a prerequisite for these conditions, and we must either cultivate a culture that values it or enforce laws that protect it. However, yesterday the Police claimed that Posie Parker ‘is in a public space. If she feels unsafe she needs to leave’.
Regardless of our views on Parker’s claim, this is a failure by the Police to do their job: defending the basic liberties of those in New Zealand, including free speech. New Zealanders should be able to engage with, hear, and agree or reject for themselves controversial ideas.
Sign this public letter to the Police Minister and Police Commissioner, calling on the police to ensure that basic civil liberties are afforded to all in this country.
The Free Speech Union is having to do the job of the Human Rights Commission and the many MPs who have failed to speak out for this basic freedom.
Free Speech Union Documentary ‘Last Words’ – stand with free speech
Look out for screenings of our documentary ‘Last Words’.
Members of the Free Speech Union team will be speaking about how we work to build a culture that values speech.
If you are in or around New Plymouth tonight details for that screening are here.
The team at the Free Speech Union are saddened by the rise of intolerance, but we also believe that thousands of Kiwis across the country are willing to stand up and speak out for everyone’s right to free speech, whether we agree with the speaker or not.
Thank you for your support.
Dr David Cumin
Free Speech Union
*The text of the letter to the Minister of Police is below. We urge our e-zine’s readers to follow the link and sign it, and to consider donating to the FSU as well. Its work has never been more important.
Public Letter to Police Minister
At the ‘Let Women Speak’ rally on Saturday in Auckland’s Albert Park, Police claimed regarding women’s right activist, Posie Parker, that “she is in a public space. If she feels unsafe she needs to leave.” Regardless of our views on Parker’s claim, this is an abject failure of the Police to do their job; defending the basic liberties of those in New Zealand, including free speech.
The counter-protest on Saturday used the ‘Thug’s Veto’ to silence opponents, not through debate or reason, but through manifest intimidation.
Without the right to peacefully gather and express beliefs and opinions, controversial or condemnable though some may consider them to be, free speech is no longer protected in New Zealand. Free speech guarantees the right to both express perspectives and views, and also to hear others perspectives and views.
The Police have failed in their duty to protect these foundational rights.
If you take free speech off the table, as it seems Police allowed to happen on Saturday, the contested opinions and beliefs don’t simply go away. However, the ability to express them peacefully is undone. This leaves on far more extreme forms of expression on the table. We are concerned for the tenure of public debate, and the potential for this to produce violence.
We believe in tolerance. Without free speech, eventually we will all lose.
We call on you, and the Police Commissioner, to acknowledge the lack of action to defend the basic speech rights of those who turned up to the ‘Let Women Speak’ rally, and reassert that those who express unpopular or controversial views in public are entirely in their right, and deserve to be protected from threats, intimidation, and violence.
Sign here: http://www.fsu.nz/public_letter_to_police_minister?recruiter_id=374
Below is Kellie-Jay Keen-Minshull’s own recording of the dreadful events last Saturday. She is knocked down by Leftists/Greens after 27:15. Finally, after her security team try to get her out, police step in to escort her.