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Media says hundreds – people actually on the march say thousands.

Posted by watchingcyfswatchnewzealand on March 29, 2007

As posted on CYFSWATCH NZ

Media says hundreds – people actually on the march say thousands.
Thursday, 29.03.2007, 06:12am (GMT12)

Hundreds protest at anti-smacking bill

By PATRICK CREWDSON – The Dominion Post | Thursday, 29 March 2007

KENT BLECHYNDEN/Dominion Post

PUNCHY SLOGANS: A pro-smacking march makes its way to Parliament. Children from two Christian schools embroiled in a stand-off with the Education Ministry over corporal punishment were given the day off to take part.

Children from two Christian schools embroiled in a stand-off with the Education Ministry over corporal punishment were given yesterday off to join a pro-smacking march to Parliament.

Hundreds of people marched against Green MP Sue Bradford’s bill outlawing physical punishment, opposed by a counter-protest from several dozen people.

Placards reading “Christ is King over Parliament” and “Down with nanny state” competed with signs such as “Who would Jesus smack?” The vocal pro-smacking crowd included scores of school-age children and mothers pushing prams.

Wainuiomata Christian College and Silverstream Christian School closed so students could join the protest.

The Education Ministry has threatened to shut the private schools because of their refusal to assure officials that staff do not use corporal punishment.

Students said they were marching to defend parents’ God-given rights to discipline their children.

“If someone truly loves his children he will discipline them according to God’s word, which is with the rod,” said Carl Leenders, 15. “If you don’t, you hate them.”

“Whether this law goes through or not I’m going to smack my children when I have them,” said Abi Zorn, also 15. “And if I have to go to jail or pay a fine, so be it.”

Wainuiomata Christian College principal Martin Keast said his students drew on their faith to formulate their stance on smacking.

The protest elicited cheers and jeers from the lunchtime crowd in Willis St and Lambton Quay.

“Shame on you, child beaters,” yelled former teacher Marion Findlay, who said it upset her to see “brainwashed” children marching alongside their parents.

Police made one arrest, charging a 23-year-old anti-smacking protester – who wore a New Zealand flag towel over his head and introduced himself as Jesus, Son of God – with disorderly behaviour, obstructing and assaulting police.

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