26 Jan 2012

Occupy protesters storm tent site

10:04 pm on 26 January 2012

Yelling and vandalism erupted at Auckland's Aotea Square on Thursday evening, following the eviction earlier of Occupy protesters occupying the central city space.

Twenty people were arrested when police cleared the square of Occupy Auckland protesters on Thursday morning.

After protesters returned for a meeting, members of the movement ripped down the fence surrounding the area they once occupied.


Afterwards, about 75 people screamed at each other over the collapsed fencing.

Radio New Zealand's reporter at the scene says members of the homeless community turned on the protesters, screaming foul language at them and blaming them for losing what they called their home.

The protesters have since dispersed, but are planning to march on Queen Street this weekend.

Only two police officers and five security guards were on hand.

On Monday, council officials tried to move them on, taking their camping gear, but this backfired when the number of protesters at the site dramatically increased.

Morning raid

Sixty police officers and about 30 security staff descended on the square at about 7am on Thursday morning, overseeing the removal of camping equipment, bedding and furniture.

Police arrested 11 people for breaching the peace, six for breaching trespass orders, and three more for wilful damage and assault.

The trespass orders were issued by the council's chief executive, Doug McKay, who came to the square to deliver them personally.

A Radio New Zealand reporter who was there says some protesters packed up voluntarily while others refused to leave.

The matter is due back in court next week.

One protester, Suzy, says the treatment of her fellow protesters is disgusting and they have been treated like animals.

Another protester, Penny Bright, says Occupy Auckland will not back down.


Wellington protesters discuss order

Protesters occupying a central Wellington site were meeting on Thursday to discuss the latest letter from the city council ordering them to move.

About 10 tents are erected at the site in Civic Square.

The group was given the letter, signed by the council chief executive Garry Poole, on Wednesday.

It says members are staying at Civic Square illegally and if they do not move the council will enforce its by-laws using any means at its disposal.