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Saturday, 14 May 2011

Fears of violence if far-right group marches against Asians (New Zeland)

Police are concerned that a clash of rallies against a far-right Christchurch group's anti-Asian stance could end in violence.

"We can always anticipate and expect problems when people are in direct conflict, but we will take every step to minimise any harm and ensure the safety of everyone," said Superintendent Wally Haumaha, general manager Maori Pacific and Ethnic Services.

"We will do whatever it takes to ensure that Asian communities are well protected, and have the right to be safe within their respective communities."

The Right Wing Resistance, led by former National Front leader Kyle Chapman is planning an Anti-Asian rally to protest against mass Asian immigration, which he claimed "stole jobs" and "destroyed white New Zealand culture and heritage".

At least two counter rallies are being organised, through Facebook, with over a thousand people already signed up to attend.

Police ethnic advisory board member Susan Zhu, who is helping to promote the marches, said she saw them as a good way to "promote support for multiculturalism and diversity".

An organiser said the date for both marches will be on the same day as the Right Wing Resistance rally, which has not yet been set.

"Through this counter march I hope the Government, media, public and the world will see that the average Kiwi are willing to stand up against racism and fascism," he said.

"Kyle Chapman and his outfit should be classed as criminals for inciting racism and hate."

Susan Zhu, a police ethnic advisory board member, who is helping to promote the counter marches said they are an opportunity "to promote diversity and multiculturalism".

But Manying Ip, a professor of Asian studies at the University of Auckland, is advising organisers to "think more carefully" about going ahead with their plans.

"It will just put everyone in a situation where emotions can easily get out of control and where violence could erupt," she said.

"We should be getting our message out to thinking New Zealanders, rather than waste our time on these fascists."

Professor Ip added: "Most thinking New Zealanders are on our side, no one wants the country to be divided or be set by ethnic hatred. So, we should refrain from doing anything that play into the hands of these guys."

Asoka Banayake, spokeswoman for the Auckland Council ethnic panel is advising those who have concerns about their safety to go to the police, rather than take to the streets.

The panel, which is holding its first public forum today, is expecting fear and anger arising from the claims of an Asian invasion to be a hotly discussed topic.

More than half a dozen Facebook pages, mostly against the far right group and its leader Kyle Chapman, have also sprouted in the last 48 hours on the social networking site.

Titles include "Kiwis against anti-Asian racists", "F**k Kyle Chapman" and "Kyle Chapman - NZ's No 1 biggot".

"This makes me sick...please guys, spread the word that Kyle Chapman and his minions are a small minority in NZ. I am personally offended as a Caucasian NZer to be associated with such behaviour," said Ashleigh Pope in one post.

"New Zealand White people weren't even first to NZ. Maori were. This is stupid and blunt racism," posted another, Trina Marie MacMillan.

 NZ Herald