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Christchurch Protest Over Activists Imprisonment

Christchurch Protest Over Activists Imprisonment

Words and Images Simon Scott

A peaceful but angry crowd of a 100 or so protesters, gathered in Cathedral Square, Christchurch on Octorber the 20th, as a gesture of solidarity with the 17 people arrested and labelled as “terrorists”.

Led by Christchurch identity Sugra the Juggler, dressed in bright orange and riding a unicycle, they marched down Colombo Street and through City Mall, chanting slogans and delaying the Saturday afternoon traffic.

There was tension in the air, as the growing crowd approached and stopped outside Christchurch police station, and one of the lead activists wrote the word “Terrorists” (accompanied by an arrow that pointed in the direction of the station) in pink chalk on the middle of the road.

While a number of activists, including a representative of the Tuhoe and spycatcher academic David Small, gave impassioned speeches about the ‘right to political protest’ and looming ‘threat of police oppression’, a visibly tense line of police officers tried to keep the protestors within one lane and prevent them from blocking the flow of traffic along Hereford Street.

Flanked by police and tailed by a paddy wagon, the protestors then returned to the square to be greeted by a small group of supporters of The National Front. Dressed in a ‘skin-head’ style and holding up New Zealand flags proudly, the small group of National Front supporters were surrounded by a line of police who kept the two groups apart. The day ended without incident.


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