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Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Rally to oppose far right racism (New Zealand)

Organisers of two anti-racism marches have agreed to come together next week for one "massive counter-rally" against a far-right group.

Thousands have indicated on the organisers' Facebook site that they will take part in the rally in central Auckland on May 27, and the event is also fuelling a high level of interest on some Chinese online forums.

The Right Wing Resistance is distributing flyers in Auckland, Christchurch and New Plymouth claiming an Asian invasion is taking place.

Leader Kyle Chapman said the group was against Asian immigration because Asians "stole jobs" and "destroyed white New Zealand culture and heritage".

Susan Zhu, a local Chinese community leader who is promoting the protest, said, "Our rally is to say that this city does not tolerate racism.

"We just want people from different cultures to be celebrating New Zealand as one harmonious, multicultural country where diversity is welcomed."

The rally at 11am on Friday week in Aotea Square would include speeches and Asian cultural performances, she said.

The Right Wing Resistance has said on its website it will not be marching in Auckland, but is planning for "activism in Auckland and other cities for the [general] election".

The group claims its "stop the Asian invasion" flyer campaign has been "the most successful right-wing campaign ever".

"The plan to target high-income areas paid off. Man, them people love to moan and complain ... better to put a hundred flyers in rich letterboxes than 10,000 in the lower income."

Meanwhile, the police will hold meetings in the coming weeks with various Asian communities in Auckland to reassure them that they do not have to fear the right-wing "radicals".

"We shouldn't live in fear," said Superintendent Wally Haumaha, head of Maori, Pacific and ethnic services, "and we shouldn't sit back and think these people are going to inflict harm, because the moment they even consider stepping towards that, the police will take a hard line and ensure that any breaches of the law will be dealt with in an appropriate way.

"It's well known that the Right Wing Resistance are a small group who do tend to make noises from time to time.

"But I would think that most well-intentioned people in this country would not take too much notice or cognisance of what is being said by these radicals."

Police Asian liaison officer Raymond Wong, who has already been meeting members of the Asian community since news of the anti-Asian flyers broke, said many were feeling disappointed.

"Many said they are disappointed that there are such strong anti-Asian views around, because they moved here thinking it was a warm and welcoming country," Mr Wong said.

"Some are just wondering what they, or the community, have done to deserve such an attack."

Asians made up 9.2 per cent of the population in the 2006 Census. In Auckland, nearly one in five (18.9 per cent) people are Asian, the highest proportion in the country.

But immigration from China has slowed since its peak in 2003, and declined last year from 2009.