29 March 2023
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Free Speech Union Welcomes National's Call For Review Of Police Inaction At Protest
The National Party has called for a review of why police failed to defend free speech at Albert Park, joining their voice with the over 20,000 Kiwis calling for the Minister of Police and Police Commissioner to address police inaction. We welcome their support for this issue, and reiterate the need for accountability for this violence, says Jonathan Ayling, Chief Executive of the Free Speech Union.
"In less than 72 hours, over 20,000 Kiwis have joined their voices together in a public letter denouncing police inaction, which enabled the violent scenes witnessed at the 'Let Women Speak' event.
"Free speech guarantees the right to both express perspectives and views, and also to hear others' perspectives and views. The Police have failed in their duty to protect these foundational rights.
"Kiwis expect the police to ensure that they can exercise their rights without being intimidated or attacked. If you allow the Thug's Veto to take free speech off the table, contested opinions and beliefs don’t simply go away. However, the ability to express them peacefully is undone.
"This leaves only far more extreme forms of expression on the table. We are concerned for the tenor of public debate, and the potential for this to produce violence. Free speech is an antidote for this, but it must be protected by the police.
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