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Salient: Victoria University of Wellington Students' Newspaper. Vol. 32, No. 9. 1969.

Big support for Security demo

page 3

Big support for Security demo

Last week 170 students left forum to take part in a inarch to Security Service HQ in Taranaki Street.

The marchers were protesting against the activities of the service at Vic, as reported in the special edition of Salient.

The demonstrators, carrying a variety of placards, arrived at their destination at about 2 p.m., after marching through the centre of town.

They were then addressed by one of the protest organisers, Owen Gager.

Mr. Gager stressed the repugnance he felt for the Security Service under its present form, describing it as a "secret police" organisation.

"We do have some checks, for example Brigadier Gilbert's representations to the Parliamentary expenditure committee," he said.

"The S.S. estimate was $272.000. Mr. Roger Boshier estimates that there are 100 true communists in New Zealand.

"This represents an expenditure of $3.000 pur communist —it is worth it?

"The logical assumption is, then, that they are ashamed of what they are doing," he said.

"The West has always attacked communist countries for their secret police. We are attacking in our society what the West has attacked in the world."

Simon Arnold stressed that the march was not an end in itself.

"Rather, it is a forum to air more rational ideas about why the Security Service is unnecessary in its present form," he said.

"It is tacitly agreed that our society is democratic.

"This should guarantee the right of freedom of conscience and freedom of speech as long as it does not impinge on the right of other people.

"It is only when an individual takes action which is likely to endanger these rights that he becomes a threat.

"The Security Service should be a judicial authority and should judge men's actions, not thoughts.

"We have acted by coming down here. There are police here to prevent us from infringing other people's rights—this is sufficient."

Having been informed that Brigadier Gilbert was present Mr, Gager challenged the Security head to speak on the service's behalf.

His challenge was not accepted in spite of a chant of "We want the Brig."

The demonstration was quiet and controlled throughout. Large numbers of police and newsmen, including the NZBC were present. The number of cameras in the crowd caused considerable comment.

"We've shown the people who have said they are de fending freedom what freedom is—even they have had an opportunity to speak" Mr. Gager said in conclusion.

"I hope they have learnt something about freedom."