Protesters call for NZ to leave Iraq, shut down Waihopai

Protestors are urgently calling for the New Zealand military in Iraq to be removed.

Global Peace and Justice Aotearoa is running protests in Auckland, Wellington and Waihopai on Saturday.

Spokesperson Mike Treen wants to link activists and build a movement of peace and justice.

"The assassination of an Iranian commander and Iraqi military leaders by the United States has led to a situation where they cannot perform their jobs. They should not be there." 

Training exercises have been disrupted in the wake of Qassem Soleimani's death, which sparked a brief retaliation from Iran, some of the rockets landing near New Zealand's Taji base.

Mike Treen.
Mike Treen. Photo credit: The AM Show

Treen says the Iraqi parliament's vote for foreign troops to be pulled out should be respected. The resolution, passed earlier this month, is non-binding however. No legislation has been written up which would force foreign troops out. 

Treen says we should follow the Iraqi government's recommendation however.

"We think we need a broader discussion of what seems to be a deepening integration with a US military alliance that's destabilising the world, rather than helping it." 

But that's not all.

"We want an end to New Zealand's collaboration with the US-led wars of empire - that includes the closing of the Waihopai spy base, and the withdrawal of the New Zealand military from Iraq and Afghanistan."

They have the backing of a number of unions, who will be turning up to show their support. 

There are currently 50 New Zealand Defence Force personnel in Iraq, 45 of them at Taji. Their job at present is to train up Iraqi troops. 

New Zealand condemned the 2003 invasion of Iraq, which was done without the backing of the United Nations. We sent assistance over in the wake of the invasion to help with peacekeeping and reconstruction efforts. 

The Waihopai spy base was infamously attacked in 2008 by three activists, who were later acquitted of any crimes after successfully arguing they did it to save lives