Waihi on Monday of Last Week and the Days Before
Maoriland Worker, Volume 3, Issue 88, 22 November 1912, Page 5
Waihi on Monday of Last Week and the Days Before
CHANGE OF TACTICS.
SATURDAY'S STREET SCENES
PICKETS WITHDRAWN AND
VfMkly Report of Strike at Walhl up
to November 11
On Wednesday and Thursday, November 6 and 7 a conference of the Mine* owners' Association took place at Waihi, which was attended V>y Messrs. Rhodes, Evans, Sf-ansfield, Grace and ether prominent officials; Commissioner of Police Cullen is also reported to havo bfen present. That a change of tactics had been decided on at the conference was apparent on Friday afternoon, when tin? scabs from both mines, in company with all th« mine officials, marched down the Martha hill *nd along the main streets, the empty brakes following behind. At the foot of Seddoii street, they Boarded the brakes and drove heme as usual under police escort. From various reports received and the appearance of the proceedings generally it was Evident that a riot wae desired by the representatives of vested interests, as it had been amply demonstrated t<l thero that their chance of winning by the. scab labor they had dug up was decidedly small. The same procedure was gone through on Saturday at noon, and in the afternoon the scabs, strengthened by the Waikino contingent, started to walk in procession up and down Seddon street. Their numbers* were further augmented by the large, majority of the ''cockroaches" in the town. From school, from bank, from fftock Exchange and Borough Chamber, from every devious nook and cranny, the miserable "cockroach" crawled forth and found congenial company in a procession of scabs. At the bead of the motley crew marched a huge Maori known as the "Snakecharmer," and becoming elated Owing to such pride of place this poor, misguided savage started to shout defiance at the groups of strikers who were scattered here and there along the street. As a result, one of the boys accommodated the redoubtable "Snakecharmer" and made hitn measure his length on the pavement a couple of times, and iricaid would have indulged in an afterloon n»p- , ... - In all, about a dozen incidents of this Jcind took place, and in all cases save one the police 6aved a scab from a hiding. About 4 p.m. the scabs and cockroaches', , aforesaid gathered in the vicinity of the Seddon Memorial, where they wer« addressed by M. B. Rudd, V. H. Potter, J. Foster and the Rev. Celary. To those acquainted with Waihi the names mentioned ought to be sufficient report of the meeting. Gn Sunday evening the strikers and their families held the usual meeting at 7.30 p.m. ■ Monday morning beheld the most exciting spectacle since the inception of the strike. The scabs dismounted from the brakes at the foot' of Seddon street, and the pickets being weai there owing to many being en duty on the outside tordon, it was soon evident that there was mischief brewing.
Secure in their numbers and in tihe presence of the police the scabs started to threaten the pickets, but actual hostilities commenced by the "Snakecharmer" making a swipe at one of our men. The Maori, bring' at fault again in his judgment, was sent to sleep on this occasion in quick time, as were about half a dozen who came, to bis rescue, and I believo the redoubtable picket would have accounted for the whole scab army if they had come on singly, but he was knocked down by a mounted policeman from behind. The whole street was now the scene of a pitched battle, but a one-sided one, as the piclMs soon realised t-hat they had to fight the police as well as the scabs. When on«> of our men became involved his fellows were rut off from him and th« scabs permitted to attack him in numbers, and wveral of the pickets w«r* brutally kicked. One of our men was set upon by ah/m* , - & dozefl scab*, and after accounting for two of them the others get him down and Jjjefee<3 him all over the body. After Retiring clear of them, the picket reports that h« stood bepirlfl a police official, who unexpectedly hit him on the mouth with bis fist and split his lip so that it ntoessitatod three- si itches at the doctor's. (Note:. The official was Commissioner CilJton. but he rnnie to the union afterwards to deny this, and demanded an apology, which he didn't get.) The official then railed on a mouutr<3 constable alongside him, and said •'Get into him."
.AltKougK many f>l th> police w«r« brutally antagonistic to the strikers, ii' may be mentioned hero in fairness that there were exceptions. One pjrket who li*d b?eu saA'agf'iy kicked all over the body sought refuge in a stable, and tho scabs following biffi weuW Wflubtless have murdered hipi but for the action of % BQWtecl constable who blocked the <loorway and offered to brain the first man that tried to enter.
The scabs are armed with batons similar to those ns?d by the police, ami tll«y also carry revolvers in a yreat many eases', and if they ran s pt any satisfaction out of having (ticked somo of the pifkftts almost to death on Monday mo.rn.jng wjfch the connivance of tht; po!ko they are welcome to it. In the afternoon the pickets wfro temporarily withdrawn from the strM, r.R the Swik« Comijiittep realieed the futility of 6ffhtiu3 armed police, for whom tho' epulis geled as catspavs.
No incident jvorthy of note happened when tin , scabs knocked off work nt 4 p.m.— SrESTITUTP FOR "THE KEBEL."