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Multimedia: Occupy Wellington Sets Up Camp In Civic Square

Occupy Wellington Sets Up Camp In Civic Square

Photos, Video and Story by Anne Russell

Despite the rain, around 300 protesters came to Occupy Wellington in Civic Square today, forming part of the New Zealand chapter of Occupy Together. The movement sprang up worldwide inspired by Occupy Wall Street, which has been running for almost a month now.

Although protesting at Civic Square on a Saturday is not particularly disruptive, the location's advantage lies in its proximity to the stock exchange. Despite the deliberate vagueness of Occupy Together's demands, the general theme can be summed up in the chant "We are the 99 percent", protesting the fact that 1% of the population controls most of the resources and economic power in the world.

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People got into a circle for discussion; a 'talking stick' was passed around so that everyone had a chance to say their piece. Later on a group broke off in order to discuss practical needs, while the larger group continued sharing stories and ideas. - See more images

"It's a New Zealand issue." said Kyro, a woman whose partner's son was murdered by the Mongrel Mob in 2009. "Our youth are dying; there are people killing our youth—particularly Maori youth—and I think it's time to stop. It's because of capitalism and greed; we don't care about our people, we are about profits."

Critics have slammed the Occupiers for being incoherent and "very disorganised", but this is precisely the point. Occupy Together is arguably the most significant example of global grassroots activism seen in decades, and thus must make decisions based on group consensus, which takes time. Over-organisation would lead to bureaucracy, and distract the activists from their original motives for protesting. Some of the people at Occupy Wellington have formed a loosely organised working group to co-ordinate practicalities such as food, medical facilities, laundry and so forth.

There were at least 50 people planning to stay at Civic Square overnight; a handy grassy area has provided room for people to pitch tents. Perhaps after the Rugby World Cup fanzone is gone there will be even more space available. The people are in for the long haul. If you or anyone you know are willing to provide support—in the form of legal advice, medical expertise or just general goodwill and solidarity—please come down and join us. You are the 99% too.


Protesters chanting outside the stock exchange

"I want a f***ing revolution!"

An early childhood education teacher speaks about her experience with poverty.


More photos from Anne Russell:

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Below: Photo Essay taken by Scoop's Alastair Thompson at around 4.30pm on Day 1.

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