Anzac Day is our day - RSA tells protesters 'not on our Cenotaphs'
RSA national president Barry Clark says anti-war protesters are not welcome on Anzac Day.
Mr Clark told The AM Show he is "very annoyed" after peaceful anti-war protesters held a banner reading "Lest We Remember: No NZ support of war" at the Dawn Service at Wellington Cenotaph.
"Anzac Day is a time for remembering those who have served - our men and women - and those who are still serving, and the cenotaphs were erected as a memorial to those who have served."
Mr Clark's comments come after New Zealand First's chief of staff David Broome, and his 12-year-old son James Broome-Isa, interrupted a Newshub interview to berate the protesters.
"Do it tomorrow, do it the day before, do it any day - but today it is wrong, wrong, wrong," the boy told the protesters.
He told the Peace Action Wellington activists the day is about remembering "Anzac, not civilians".
Mr Clark backed James up, saying: "Anzac Day is our day. It's a day of remembrance. As the young man said, pick any other day."
Anzac Day has long been a day of protest as well as remembrance.
The strong anti-war sentiment of the 1960s and '70s saw protesters turn out on Anzac Day to protest New Zealand's involvement in the Vietnam war.
In 1978, a women's group drew controversy when they laid a wreath in remembrance to the women killed and raped in war.
But Mr Clark said while freedom of speech was one of the reasons New Zealand went to war, "they can do it any other day."
He said the group were making a political point "only for the media."
Mr Broome emailed The AM Show to say the protesters picked the wrong time and place
"We took James to a Commonwealth War Graves Commission cemetery last year and the significance of what Anzac Day means evidently sunk in. There is a time and place and the Cenotaph on Anzac Day is simply not the place for protest."
He has the backing of New Zealand First - the party he works for.
"Anzac Day is a sacred day for commemoration and reflection and using it for protest is inappropriate," said Ron Mark, New Zealand First Defence Spokesperson in a press release.
"Yes, we fought for the democratic right of protest but there are 364 other days for people to make their point. Choosing today, of all days, is disrespectful but designed to garner cheap media attention."
In Wellington on Anzac Day, event organisers allowed the anti-war protest group to lay a wreath on the Cenotaph. They placed images of civilians allegedly killed in a New Zealand Defence Force-orchestrated raid in Afghanistan; images from Nicky Hager and Jon Stephenson's book Hit and Run.