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Citizen rights trashed at Council meeting

Media Release

Date: Wednesday, 13 March 2002 9:27 p.m.

For Immediate Release

Citizen rights trashed at Council meeting

Tonight 17 otherwise law abiding citizens were forced into a situation where they were placed under arrest for exercising their democratic rights of freedom of expression.

Ordinary citizens were violently ejected by private body guards on the orders of the mayor picked people out for ejection based on no apparent reason other than they voiced an opinion he didn’t want to hear. While this was happening the police stood by and did nothing to protect the democratic of Auckland residents.

These actions demonstrate the politics of arrogance and confrontation practiced by John Banks and the ACRN Council members who sat there and let the unprovoked violence occur.

The item on the agenda, the sale of council housing, was never raised by John Banks or ACRN during the election campaign. This is one of many such issues that have never been mandated by either an election campaign, consultation processes with the public, or through the recommendations of council officers.

Ordinary citizens from all around Auckland City were subjected to the indignity of having their bags and pockets searched before they could enter the Town Hall. Once inside the Council meeting room, Banks refused to allow anyone speak in the public forums. . When one man objected to this decision, he was dragged from the room by several security guards on the orders of John Banks.

Later, a woman who had been sitting quietly was forcibly removed by four private security guards who carried her spread-eagled from the room, despite the efforts of many members of the public to stop this from happening. One of the women involved was later treated for the shock by the ambulance service.

These developments will be viewed with horror by most Auckland City residents. It is notable that under the worst excesses of the Les Mills mayoralty, someone well known for his bullying attitude, people were always allowed to speak and placards and banners were well tolerated.

This debacle needs to be reviewed urgently by Central Government, Human Rights and Civil Liberties to wipe tonight’s decisions from the books and to ensure that this Council cannot exercise their powers when they ride rough shod over the democratic rights of ordinary citizens to make a peaceful protest .

For further comment please contact:

Marney Ainsworth

Ph: 376 6213

Mob 021 284 7122

Email: marney@xtra.co.nz

Maire Leadbeater

Mob: 025-436 957

AH 815 9000

Email: maire@clear.net.nz

Peter Black

Ph 303 3068

Email pjsblack@xtra.co.nz

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