20 Dec 2011

Protesters end occupation in Dunedin

6:02 pm on 20 December 2011

Protesters in Dunedin have ended their two-month occupation of the Octagon.

The group had been camped in the South Island city's centre for 66 days as part of the global Occupy Wall Street campaign against corporate bailouts and wealth inequality.

At its height, the camp had more than 20 tents and up to 150 people attended evening rallies.

Protester Michelle Campbell says the group decided on Monday night to break up the camp on Tuesday morning.

Ms Campbell says some people are sad about losing a physical presence in the city, but everyone is tired of not sleeping and at the end of their tether in terms of personal energy.

She says they plan to keep the protest going with some sort of community-based activism.

Dunedin mayor Dave Cull says the protest ran its course some time ago and is glad it is over before the festive season and ended without conflict.

Some protesters say the group decided to pack up after an approach from police.

The city council tried to force the campers out with a trespass notice, but police refused to enforce it.

Mr Cull is keenly awaiting a court decision about protesters who have been occupying Aotea Square in Auckland, which he says could clarify the status of protests and council by-laws.