Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Charges against New Zealand priest dropped

Police will drop charges against New Zealand priest, Fr Gerard Burns, who smeared blood on a memorial to Yitzhak Rabin in protest against Israel's invasion of Gaza.

Fr Burns was charged by police with wilful damage after David Zwartz, former honorary Israeli consul in New Zealand, reported the January 6 incident.

But on Friday, the case against Burns was held over until May 21 to give him time to fulfill community service tasks in exchange for the charges being dropped.

Burns led a demonstration of several hundred pro-Palestinian demonstrators through the streets of Wellington, the capital of New Zealand, during Israel's military offensive against Hamas.

When the protesters reached the monument to the slain Israeli prime minister, Burns sprinkled droplets of red paint mixed with his own blood on the plaque.

Burns, who was pictured wearing a black and white kaffiyeh at the rally, said at the time it was a "symbolic action."

"It was denunciation of the [Israeli] state, not an attack on the Jewish faith," he told the New Zealand Press Association.

"I have a great esteem for the Jewish faith," he said, later adding, "but the Israeli state is another beast altogether."

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Source (CTHN)


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