A pro-Palestine group has carried out a guerilla projection on to the outside of Te Papa after Wellington mayor Andy Foster vetoed a council-sanctioned one.
The Palestinian flag and the image of slain Al Jazeera veteran journalist Shireen Abu Akleh were displayed outside the national museum in central Wellington on Monday evening.
Foster on Sunday confirmed it was his call, based on strong urging from Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (Mfat), to cancel Monday’s planned projection of the Palestinian flag on to the council-owned Michael Fowler Centre (MFC).
Councillor Tamatha Paul, who had arranged the MFC projection, said it was approved until Foster called her on Saturday, citing concerns about possible complaints from the Israeli community.
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“I support our local Justice for Palestine movement in doing what our Mayor was too scared to do,” Paul said.
“Recognising the atrocities of the Nakba in the face of those who choose to misremember history.”
Wajd Sameer, from Justice for Palestine, said the event was to mark Nakba Day, which commemorates the estimated 700,000 people who fled or were driven from their homes in what is now Israel during the 1948 war. New Zealand does not officially recognise Palestine as a state.
Auckland and Christchurch councils allowed Nakba Day events to be held in their venues on Sunday despite also getting advice from Mfat.
There was a separate Nakba Day even on Sunday at the Thistle Hall on Cuba St, which is owned by the council but run by an independent board.
Foster, who stood by his decision to cancel the MFC projection, said people were welcome to protest peacefully and lawfully in Wellington.
“However, this is quite different to the council actively doing something similar on one of its buildings.”