Auckland free speech rally: A roving Whale’s viewpoint.

photo supplied to Whaleoil

Today I was fortunate to find I had spare time available to allow me to attend the Auckland Free Speech Rally, held in Aotea Square.

I was keen to attend as I, much like other thinking people, was astounded at the sheer arrogance of Auckland’s Mayor Phil Goff thinking he could ride roughshod over the democratic right of people to speak in a public place, and indeed to our right to listen.

So I filled up the Purple Ford with pure, Auckland tax-free 91, and headed south from Mangawhai, venturing out of the Democratic People’s Republic of Kaipara, into the heart of the city of Auckland, home of the tall spiky building, unaffordable houses and homeless on the street.

Well, the first thing I found was plenty of parking! A full 378 spaces available in the Civic carpark, and only Two Bucks an hour, that’s not even half a cup of coffee!

As I walked up to the square I was recalling what was probably the last time I ventured there. It was quite a few years ago, Dave Dobbin concert, a pretty big riot, you remember.

My girlfriend and I had gone into town to catch the concert then a movie. But as we all know, things got out of hand. A few mongrels were causing trouble, the Feds decided they had better deal with them and formed up, jogging into the crowd, standard stuff really. Unfortunately, at that time, the PA system packed a sad and the music went off. People thought the cops had done it and things got ugly.

It was a very sad day for New Zealand. I think we lost a little of our innocence that day.

The only music that greeted me this time was a big band that was in the Square as a part of a Falon Gong demonstration and protest against the atrocities that happen to them in China. I was impressed to see how many people were there as a part of their protest, and the peaceful and honourable way they conduct themselves.

supplied to Whaleoil

So I was very interested to hear the speakers who were to talk to the small but growing crowd. The free speech crowd were gathered on the footpath near the entrance of the Town Hall.

There seemed to be two reasonably distinct factions there. Those who seemed to be there as a part of the Free Speech Rally, and those who seemed to be there as a part of the Free Tommy Robinson Rally. Some carried both signs. A wide representation of folk were there and I would put the crowd at about 150 to 200 souls.

The first speaker was Dieuwe de Boer of Right Minds NZ, the organiser of the event. He spoke well and introduced Elliot Ikilei, the new Deputy Leader of the Conservative Party.

Screenshot from Livestream. New Conservative Deputy Leader Elliot Ikilei on the microphone

Elliot was a very strong speaker. The first thing he did, and entirely appropriately, was to give a small greeting in his own language before starting into his speech proper. Unfortunately, as soon as he started talking, an interesting character at the edge of the crowd decided to have his 15 minutes of fame.

Photo supplied to Whaleoil

With yelled abuse along the lines of “What the Fuck is he talking about?”, “I can’t understand a word he’s saying”, “What the hell are you going on about mate”, this moron did his best to interrupt proceedings. He accused those gathered of being racists etc, but seemed completely ignorant of how seemingly racist his comments were. Most there quickly figured out that he was just a waste of space and pretty much ignored him.

Unfortunately, there were a few blokes there, who appeared to be part of the Free Tommy crowd who took the bait. One of these fellows, (on the left in the photo above with a Union Jack flag draped over his shoulders), came running down from up the street a bit and got into the face of the shouty hairy man and gave him a big shove in the chest.

Now with visions of the last riot I was at in Aotea Square, I thought I had better do what I could to calm the situation. Stepping in between them I managed to walk the angry Tommy man back a little and tried to explain to him that violence was not the way forward in this situation, and that he was kind of missing the whole point of a free speech rally, in that Mr Hairy man, as annoying and pathetic as he was, was as entitled to be heard as we were.

So to his credit, Mr Tommy man backed off a little. But like troops being gunned down as they went over the top, there was always another chap following up behind to take his place.

I’m not sure exactly what people expect to gain out of screaming into someone’s face? Clearly neither of you are going to change the other’s opinion in a million years. A few of those attending quietly stepped in and tried to hold the Hairy man’s attention with a quieter conversation. A lovely older lady seemed to be very successful with this tactic and managed to keep the disturbance down to a minimum. At least Mr Hairy didn’t yell at her as I suspect had he done so, things would’ve changed quickly.

But throughout this, Mr Ikelei carried on with his speech, talking with much conviction about the need to resist the degradation of our freedoms. I was very impressed by him. Even when the microphone started failing, cutting in and out, he was actually able to be heard above the rantings of the homeless in the background.

Then onto Stephen Berry, who apart from a perhaps unseemly attempt at humour, calling the boisterous rabble at the back Neo Nazi’s, also did well to get his message across. He talks reasonably well, (unfortunately, the microphone cutting out didn’t help) but this man does seem to have a bit of passion to him as well.

Photo supplied to Whaleoil.
ACT candidate Stephen Berry on the microphone. Whaleoil writer and editor of the Rightminds blog Dieuwe de Boer to the left

The other nominated speaker, Mr Jordan Williams of the Free Speech Coalition was sadly unable to attend. Dieuwe explained that although it was indeed a shame to miss his speech, Jordan was frantically working on the lawsuit against Phil Goff. It will be interesting to see where that leads to.

The final two speakers I didn’t catch the names of. One chap spoke passionately in regard to creeping Sharia etc and another spoke on different aspects of freedom of speech.

Then with the gentle sounds of the Falun Gong band creeping across the footpath, much like the way the music ramps up when you are near the end of the allotted time for your Oscar speech, we came to the end of the rally. The dreaded Auckland drizzle even held out until about one minute after the close of play.

It was then that things got a little interesting. With the formalities over, and most starting to wend their way home, the shouty chap and his new friends started all over again. The lone policeman, a Senior Sergeant no less, gave them a little space to air their differences but stepped in occasionally as things got heated to remind them that they were being watched. I thought he handled it well.

It was however interesting to watch a reporter who I was led to believe was from Radio NZ, (although I can’t confirm this). I had noticed her take a couple of photos of the people making speeches but she seemed very intent on getting into the wee fracas at the end. Many photos were taken of the people remonstrating with the hairy yob and his little group of bedraggled friends and one Oiler present was heard to comment that the radio reporter seemed very interested in getting the views of the shouty folk but not so much interested in the other side of the story.

I figured I would leave these chaps to their arguing and wombled off home. It was an interesting experience. I was able to meet some fine Oilers, McVAC, Claws, Mark etc, and I am sure there were plenty of others there as I got a few knowing looks while wearing my WhaleOil cap. At least I didn’t have to dodge out of the way and duck into the cinema to avoid being trampled by a Police skirmish line like last time!

I shall leave you all with this. The other night, Archilochus commented on a post:

I am concerned the reference to Tommy Robinson planned for the demonstrations will be irrelevant and obscure for most New Zealanders and easily portrayed as “far right”. I think the demonstrations therefore are a gift for the hard left and will be misrepresented by the media and exploited by the Greens and Goff. I think we need to keep any protest focused on New Zealand and the broad spectrum of support enjoyed by the Free Speech Coalition. These demonstrations have the potential to be a major own goal for free speech. So I won’t be joining them and I wish they could be called off and refocused in support of the Coalition.

When I read that, I didn’t really think much into it. After attending the rally, I suspect it was possibly a little prophetic.

I wonder how the radio reporter will frame her segment?

 

by ExPFC


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A guest post submitted to Whaleoil and edited by Whaleoil staff.

Guest Post content does not necessarily reflect the views of the site or its editor. Guest Post content is offered for discussion and for alternative points of view.

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