Police in the New Zealand capital of Wellington were weighing charges Friday against a group of pro-cannabis protesters who invaded the cop-shop with a cart full of burning marijuana, according to a report from the scene.
The activists had been demonstrating on parliament grounds by smoking marijuana openly in front of police and security, as party of an ongoing campaign of civil disobedience.
Amid the noisy scene, with a rowdy crowd shouting and cheering in approval, one of the protest organizers declared that he was "proud as hell" to have been a part of the demonstration, telling a reporter that they had "declared war" on their country's drug laws.
"Free the weed! Free the weed!" the crowd chanted as police rushed in with fire extinguishers and handcuffs.
Dakta Green, briefly interviewed by 3 News in New Zealand, is a marijuana activist who has been leading a campaign of "peace" between tokers and police, calling his cause the "Armistice Tour." The main goal, apart from the outright legalization and regulation of cannabis, is to convince police to let sports fans smoke during the rugby World Cup next year.
New Zealanders have a history of violence when it comes to losing rugby matches, and much of the rage, many locals portend, is due to copious alcohol consumption. The marijuana campaigners suggest that allowing fans to smoke marijuana instead would be safer.
Meanwhile, traveling around the country in a big, green bus -- apparently nicknamed "Mary Jane the Cannabus," according to their website -- the group is hoping to encourage other marijuana consumers to "live like it's legal."
Video posted to an 'Armistice' campaign website showed a group of people laughing and talking while smoking on the lawn in front of parliament. Green later delivered an "Armistice Agreement," allegedly bearing the signatures of 4,500 people, to New Zealand Green MP Gareth Hughes.
The New Zealand Herald called it "one of the happiest protests the political precinct had seen in a long time."
Their protest inside the police station would seem to have been a bit more eventful.
Police said they were examining a shopping cart, which reportedly contained a heap of flaming marijuana. The brazen act of defiance was allegedly committed on camera, but authorities have not yet released the footage.
By Stephen C. Webster
November 12th, 2010
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