'They're making a killing out of killing': Protesters arrested at weapons expo

Hundreds of angry protesters descended on Palmerston North to oppose what they describe as a weapons expo.

The New Zealand Defence Industry Association's annual forums are regularly marred by arrests and a heavy police presence.

Protesters on Wednesday were determined to disrupt the event in any way they can.

Although delegates eventually made it to the Defence Industry and National Security Forum, 10 protesters were taken away by police.

"They're making a killing out of killing," says one of the protestors

Organisers of the invitation-only forum say it's networking event for defence and security organisations, including the Defence Force and weapons manufacturers.

Among those voicing their opposition were members of the Stormtroopers gang, including Colonel Klink.

"They've provided them a platform in Palmerston North where people take their kids to watch speedway and that to sell weapons."

After scuffles with police, protesters gathered in central Palmerston North to march to the forum at the Central Energy Trust Arena.

Unlike previous years when protesters were able to blockade the actual expo itself, this year police have blocked off the roads around the venue so now protests have been forced to walk around it.

"This is not acceptable, not only in New Zealander but anywhere in the world - we shouldn't be profiting from war," says a protestor.

Marchers got strong support from some of the city's leaders, with councillor Brent Barrett telling the crowds the expo was disturbing.

"You are - as I'm sure already know - on the right side of history. What you see and experience here may well be the most fortified our city has been since the Springbok tour."

Police say Wednesday's arrests were for a variety of offences - including assaulting officers, obstruction, trespass and disorder.


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