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Australian priest pours blood on US consul's carpet

A Dominican priest and a Catholic worker yesterday took their anti-war message inside the US consulate in Auckland, making a cross on the carpet with their blood.

Fr Peter Murnane and fellow protester Nicholas Drake had arranged to meet US consul Douglas Berry in his office to read a statement to him.

What Mr Berry didn't know was that the two men each had a container of their own blood with them. The men poured the fluid on the floor of Mr Berry's office, making a one-metre-long cross.

Fr Murnane said Mr Berry asked them not to do what they were doing, but made no attempt to stop them.

"He simply showed us to the door," he said. "There was security at the door, but there was no conflict."

Fr Murnane believed the protest had been effective and that he and Mr Drake had got their message across.

"I think so, very deeply," he said. "He is in a difficult position for any human being, supporting a nation doing what it is doing without United Nations agreement."

Fr Murnane said he was in regular communication with Dominican sisters and friars in Iraq.

An Australian, Fr Murnane said he was "deeply ashamed" of his own country's involvement in the conflict and went to Wellington when Australian Prime Minister John Howard was there earlier this month. After Mr Howard laid a wreath at the National War Memorial, Fr Murnane placed his own wreath there, with the words "peace" and "salaam (greeting)".

NZ Press Association

Efforts towards peace must be unceasing: Archbishop [Doyle of Hobart] | Text of homily
Australia PM jeered (The Mercury)
Howard Govt should think about liberation of Iraqi citizens closer to home (Sr Patty Fawkner, Uniya Jesuit Social Justice Centre)
Iraq: Dominican Sisters Work against War and for Peace (Vidimus Dominum)

Auckland Catholic Tertiary Chaplains

25 Mar 2003