Protesters arrested after disrupting Israeli documentary

Two activists have been arrested by police after a protest at Auckland's Q Theatre against a controversial documentary about the founder of Israel.

Protesters claim screening Ben-Gurion, Epilogue, a documentary about the first Prime Minister of Israel, breaches the cultural boycott of Israel and describe it as "Zionist propaganda".

On Thursday night they attempted to disrupt the screening by protesting inside the theatre, with video taken inside showing fiery confrontations.

Protesters say they were shocked by the police response.

"Two peace activists have been arrested and charged by Police for simply expressing their view that the film Ben Gurion is Israeli propaganda to whitewash Israel's crimes in Palestine," says Auckland Peace Action member Valerie Morse.

"While the activists certainly did expect that they would be thrown out of the theatre, the decision by police to arrest and prosecute two people is totally out of line. It is an attempt to silence critics of Israel and repress freedom of speech."

Police say a 25-year-old male and a 26-year-old male have been jointly charged with disorderly behaviour likely to cause violence. They will appear in the Auckland District Court on Wednesday 30 May.

It's the latest outrage caused by protesters after they disrupted the Wellington screening of the film at Doc Edge Festival 2018.

They reportedly brought fake bombs to try and scare the cinemagoers into evacuating. Police were called to remove a beeping black box from the cinema.

Alex Lee, director of the Doc Edge International Documentary Film Festival, told RadioLIVE cancelling the Auckland screenings are not an option.

"It's a threat that we need to take into consideration, not only for the safety of the audiences, but also to ensure there is no damage to property.

"We are there to show all sides, all stories."

But protesters are unrepentant, and say they will return to disrupt another screening.

"Just as New Zealanders stood up against racist South Africa during the years of apartheid, we are standing up today against racist Israel and the system of apartheid there," Ms Morse says.

"We will not be silenced by these arrests, and will return on Sunday for another action at the second screening of the film."