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Occupy Wellington march to Lambton Quay and back

Occupy Wellington march to Lambton Quay and back

Anne Russell
November 18, 2011

Around 45 people marched from Civic Square to Midland Park at midday today in support of Occupy Wellington. The rally was coordinated with the international Occupy movement in a Global Day of Mass Non-Violent Direct Action. Occupy Wall Street organized the event after being violently evicted from Zuccotti Park, and they are determined to shut down the city. It seems that police violence has only galvanized people’s support for the movement.

Occupy Wellington is currently facing the first signs of official opposition. Wellington City Council issued a letter requesting that the occupiers provide a leaving date. A General Assembly was held on Wednesday, and it was decided that Occupy Wellington would not leave until the global problems listed in its Vision Statement were addressed. The official Occupy Wellington response to the WCC letter can be viewed here.

The marchers made extensive use of the Human Microphone to make speeches. Some outlined the action planned by the City Council in relation to the Occupiers, while others relayed news of Occupations overseas. Later on Occupiers informed the public of the Canterbury Meat Packers’ lockout, which has been going on for 5 weeks because workers will not agree to a 20% pay cut. Occupy Wellington thus showed interest in supporting activist movements nationally and globally. A video of two speeches can be viewed below.

After speaking in Midland Park, the group marched back to Civic Square, where a brief General Assembly was held. The public was invited to come to more action this evening, with a People’s Parliament at 5.30pm, and various weekend events.

The reaction from the public surprised me in that the protest faced very little visible opposition, despite the fact that we were disrupting everyone’s lunch hour. I suppose and hope it is difficult to argue with a movement that invites everyone to join and discuss societal problems.

Indeed, Occupy Wellington has, in general, received an overwhelmingly positive response from the public. It is unclear from the WCC letter how many complaints have been made by the public against the Occupiers, or what specific complaints are. Moreover, the letter refers to the Occupation as ‘exclusive’--a difficult point to back up when inclusion is the very ethos of the global Occupy movement.

How things will progress with the Council and police is yet to be seen. Occupy Wellington is a peaceful movement but not a passive one. Most Occupiers on site are dedicated activists who are unlikely to pack up and go away.


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ENDS

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