Activists challenge intolerance
Protesters at a desecrated Jewish graveyard have issued a challenge against far right wing movement National Front - saying they will never be welcome in Auckland.
Jews, Muslims, Maori and Pakeha gathered at the Karangahape Rd Cemetery where rows of headstones were vandalised with anti-Semitic graffiti this week.
Around 30 protesters, some carrying placards emblazoned with 'Nazi-free zone Auckland' gathered at the cemetery at midday.
The mood intensified as the group moved out onto the street to chant against the vandalism.
"This is an attack on all of us," Socialists Aotearoa spokesman Joe Carolan said.
"It hits Jews, Muslims, gays, people of colour, trade unions, the Labour party, socialists and anarchists."
The finger has been pointed at National Front, which is marching on Parliament this Labour weekend.
An aggressive challenge to the organisation was issued by Socialists Aotearoa.
"Just try to march in this city and see what happens to you. Try and do this again, that's a challenge."
Black swastikas and '88' are still prominent on rows of the headstones, along with the words "don't f*** with us". The digits are said to represent the eighth letter in the alphabet and refer to the Nazi salute Heil Hitler.
"The 'master race' is scared to show face today. They have to skulk around in the night like cowards," Carolan said.
"This nonsense has to stop."
Auckland University tutor Faisal Al-Asad said the protest was not politically motivated, but a stand against all discrimination.
"We have to stamp it out. That's why we're here," the Iraqi national said.
Al-Asad's own first-hand experiences of racism were a motivator.
"Just ask any Arab or Muslim... There's a xenophobia against people who are not white, and not Maori or Pacific Islander."