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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Vol 35 No. 3. 15th March 1972

No Justification

No Justification

There was no justification for the repeated police assaults. The crowd of demonstrators were never even within throwing distance of the sensitive part of the base. Violence from the demonstrators side was limited to a few stones thrown at police floodlights. Verbal abuse and threats were heavy on both sides. At one stage the Inspector in charge said "you can use any language you like, I don't mind", yet later Dunedin demonstrator Brian O'Brien was arrested for "inciting violence", and summonses for obscene language have been issued against two others. Brian O'Brien had just been handed the megaphone by another demonstrator and had not had a chance to say anything when he was grabbed from the middle of the crowd. Presumably one of the cops on duty had been ordered to arrest the man with the megaphone, end did as he was told.

There was tension in the air on Sunday morning when the main "official" demonstrators set out to climb Mt. John on the American built road up the mountainside. As was typical the organisation had no plans for any action when the march reached the base. Demonstrators arriving found themselves on a hill overlooking the Baker-Nunn satellite tracking camera. They also found themselves being looked at by a photographer inside the camera dome which had been lifted a few inches to allow photos to be taken and observations to be made The partly hidden photographer soon closed the camera dome when rocks thrown by demonstrators threatened to enter the dome end damage the precious' military equipment inside.

Owen Wilkes announced that an invitation had been issued for 4 demonstrators to be shown round the base, but explained that the only part of the base with a solely military function, the communications room, would not be opened. The marchers voted that a delegation should not go unless they could see over the communications room. In the end a strictly unofficial delegation saw over the base.