Object: PR 24 baton
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|Title||PR 24 baton|
Monadnock (manufacturer(s)), 1981, United States
|Medium summary||Moulded resin, metal|
x 170mm (Width)
x 35mm (Depth)
|Credit line||Anonymous gift, 1989|
The Monadnock PR 24 baton was introduced by the New Zealand Police in the early 1980s for riot control. It replaced the previous shorter baton.
The code-name for the police action during the 1981 Springbok rugby tour was ‘Operation Rugby’. This baton was used by two special police squads formed as security escorts for the South African team (the Springboks) as it travelled around the country. Called the Red and Blue Escort Groups, they were more commonly known as the Red Squad and Blue Squad.
Confrontations between rugby supporters and anti-tour protesters grew increasingly violent as the tour progressed. To manage the conflict, police were equipped with helmets, riot shields, and the long PR 24 baton.
The PR 24 baton became a much feared object during the tour. Police used it to force protesters back, and it could be a dangerous weapon if applied forcefully. Because of its size, it had to be carried openly, which made its users appear more threatening. For the anti-tour movement, it became a powerful symbol of state control and power.
The batons gained the nickname ‘Minto Bars’ after John Minto, a leader of Halt All Racist Tours (HART).
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