Thanks Kim Dotcom

SVEN HERSELMAN
Last updated 08:28 26/01/2014
police
Sven Herselman

Police stand watch as the Waihopai spy base protest takes place.

Uncle sam
Sven Herselman
Waihopai spy base protester Alice Leney as "Uncle Sam".

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The annual Waihopai spy base protest attracted a crowd of around 70 anti-base demonstrators on Saturday afternoon, spurred on by revelations over the past year of illegal spying by government.

Green Party MP Steffan Browning said that the mood was far more confident this year following the Kim Dot Com and Edward Snowden sagas, which revealed illegal spying on New Zealanders and global spying by America's National Intelligence Agency.

The only minor incident in the hour and-a-half demonstration came when one protester appeared to get to close to crossing the boundary, promoting police to step forward and request he move back.

Anti-Bases Campaign leader Murray Horton said that their allegations of spying on New Zealanders by government had been vindicated.

The spy base protest has been held each year since 1988.

''It took government 25 years to admit that the GCSB [Government Communications Security Bureau] have been illegally spying on New Zealanders, but they have finally done it. Ironically it's actually unfortunate that we have been vindicated because of the implications that has,'' he said.

In his speech Mr Horton thanked the role that Kim Dotcom played and made special mention of American Edward Snowden for his part in revealing the global spying activities of the US.

''By having this base here we are a part of that and we are opening ourselves up to making the same enemies as the Americans.''

New Zealand is a member of the UKUSA agreement also known as the Five Eyes alliance, a multilateral agreement for cooperation in signals intelligence between the US, the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia.

Veteran political protester John Minto said that the base was a threat to New Zealand as it ties the country to the US and its spying actions.

German working tourists Elena Breit , Max Herre and Alex Kamper were among the protesters, having made a special trip to be at the demonstration.

''This [spying] is a big deal in Germany. We want to see bases like this closed too,'' Mr Kamper said.

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- The Marlborough Express

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