21 Dec 2011

Protesters given deadline to leave Auckland square

9:14 pm on 21 December 2011

The Auckland Council has moved to evict protesters who have been camping in the central city for just over two months.

The protesters are part of the global Occupy movement, which seeks to stop corporate greed.

The council earlier sought a court injunction after the group set up camp on 15 October.

That order was served at 2.30pm on Wednesday and protesters have until Friday morning to pack up their tents and other possessions and leave Aotea Square.

The group argue they are exercising their rights under the Bill of Rights.

However, on Wednesday, the Auckland District Court ruled they have progressively caused damage during the occupation - both financial and intangible.

It has found there are reasonable limitations to the protesters' rights of expression and peaceful assembly - and the injunction will end the unreasonable interference with the rights of others to enjoy the public space.

The court says the order to leave does not stop protesters from protesting or gathering or expressing their views.

Mayor Len Brown says Aucklanders have been very tolerant, but it is now time for the park to come back to the people.

Protesters heading back to court

A lawyer for the protesters says they are asking the court to suspend the order while they work on an appeal. Ron Mansfield says it is expected to be heard in the District Court on Thursday afternoon.

On Wednesday night, the protesters voted to march on the council's chambers on Thursday after the court proceedings.

The 70-or-so occupiers and supporters say the will ask the council why they are being told to move on.