Radio New Zealand might think that the protest against Posie Parker was just 'raucous', but it was much worse than that. It left Parker fearing for her life.
THE CHAOTIC and disgraceful scenes that erupted at Albert Park in Auckland yesterday seemed almost inevitable. Throughout the week a partisan media whipped up the hatred toward Posie Parker. It decided she was not a woman's rights campaigner but an 'anti-transgender activist'. But it was much worse than that. She was also a neo-Nazi, a card-carrying member of the far right. That it was completely untrue did not matter. Parker was tied to the ducking stool and since she did not sink without a trace, she was guilty on all charges.
The Government also did little to bring down the temperature with Immigration Minister Michael 'river of filth' Wood describing Parker as 'vile' and 'inflammatory' and that he preferred that she never set foot in the country.
Throughout the week her opponents ominously warned of the violence Posie Parker's visit to the country might encourage. One of the organisers of the protest against her, Shannon Lal, even claimed he feared for his own life at the hands of Parker's supporters. It was an outrageous claim, but it went unexamined and unchallenged by the media.
The violence that was on display to the entire nation was that of the protesters. From the off they clearly had no intention to allow a peaceful meeting of predominately women to take place. Quickly degenerating into an ugly mob, they smashed through some flimsy barriers and invaded the stage. Parker never got the opportunity to address her supporters. She had tomato soup and food thrown at her and she was verbally abused. She was quickly whisked away by security. She later tweeted that she had feared for her life:
'I genuinely thought if I fell to the floor I would never get up again, my children would lose their mother and my husband would lose his wife. My security saved my life today, no words can express my gratitude. #LetWomenSpeak'
Other women were also verbally abused. Some were physically assaulted. One woman said she had been spat on. Others were left shaken and close to tears. No effort was made by the organisers of the protest to prevent the violence and intimidation. They rejoiced in what was done, declaring it to be a 'victory'.
But despite the video evidence stacked against them, the organisers claimed that the protest had not been responsible for any of the violence. Auckland Pride tweeted:
'We also reject that there was any further physical threat from our community towards Parker. This is a baseless rumour that is being perpetrated by those who feel defeated by the events of today. We urge the media not to repeat these allegations without evidence.'That tweet drew a sharp response from author JK Rowling:
'There are multiple videos of Kellie-Jay being assaulted. Women have become used to lies, threats of violence and outright denial of reality, but if you imagine anyone feels 'defeated', think again. Your men's rights activists showed the world exactly who they are. #LetWomenSpeak'
The organiser for Auckland Pride is Max Tweedie. He and Labour MP Shanan Halbert both told Stuff they were proud of the protesters. Tweedie is a member of the Labour Party.
The Green Party also backed the protest. Green co-leader Marama Davidson and fellow Green MP's Golriz Ghahraman and Ricardo Menéndez March were all in attendance. Ghahraman tweeted 'So ready to fight Nazis'.
Who knew that when Green Party co-leader James Shaw recently warned of 'a very real possibility someone will be injured, or worse, during this year’s election campaign' some of his fellow Green MPs would be celebrating a violent and disruptive protest?
Marama Davidson, said she was 'so proud' of the protesters. She also declared that only 'white cis men' commit violence. It is of concern that someone with a race-based view of domestic violence is also the Minister for Prevention of Family and Sexual Violence. In the video, Davidson looks and sounds almost unhinged.
It was extremely disturbing how easily the liberal left abandoned a principle as fundamental as the freedom of speech and association. But so did some socialists. Lefties like Joe Carolan of the Unite Unite, Dougal McNeill of the International Socialist Organisation and Branko Marcetic of Jacobin magazine should be ashamed of themselves.
They will no doubt find a way to justify their anti-democratic view. But we need to be clear. In supporting a violent and disruptive protest they chose to give the middle finger to the socialist tradition. They have disregarded the words of Rosa Luxemburg who wrote: 'The freedom of speech is meaningless unless it means the freedom of the person who thinks differently.'
The protesters had a choice. They could allow those who they disagreed with, the right to express their views. Or they could suppress and silence dissent, shut up those who think differently, and thus destroy the freedom of all. The protesters chose the latter option.