29 Jan 2012

Occupy protesters out of square, a day after going back in

2:49 pm on 29 January 2012

Occupy Auckland protesters have left Aotea Square again, only a short time after reclaiming the park.

After the march on Queen Street on Saturday afternoon, protesters reclaimed the site which they had occupied since last October.

But on Sunday morning, a Radio New Zealand reporter says most of the fences had been re-erected, and there appeared to be no protesters nor tents in the square.

There were, however, a handful of homeless people, who earlier in the week criticised the occupy movement for stealing what they regard as their home.

Radio New Zealand's reporter says the protesters, on Saturday, tore down the fences and began chanting loudly in the middle of the square, ignoring council signs saying the area is out of bounds while the grass is being restored.

The group also marched on the Auckland central police station, before returning to Aotea Square.

The protest caused significant inner-city traffic disruption.

Radio New Zealand's reporter says the feedback from Aucklanders is that they are sick and tired of the protesters and want them to leave.

Occupy protesters, who are opposing corporate greed, were removed from their base in Aotea Square earlier this week for breaching a council bylaw.

Auckland Council, security guards and police moved into the square on Tuesday and again on Thursday, removing tents and other equipment from the square. More than 30 people were arrested in the operations.

The occupiers say they were mistreated by police and security guards in the raids, and are demanding the council accept they have a right to freedom of speech.

Occupy Auckland is due back in court next week where the Auckland Council will be seeking fresh orders to remove any protesters remaining in the square.