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Protest at Labour Party Conference

NZ Police CommCens Alert 15:15 3-11-2007 Waitemata

Location of incident: Takapuna - North Shore

Incident Type: Protest at Labour Party Conference

Media Release - Protest - Labour Party Conference

Released 1515hrs Saturday 3rd November 2007

Police strongly refute claims that they were heavy handed or provocative when dealing with the protest action outside the Labour Party Conference in Takapuna.

Inspector Les Paterson, Commander of the North Shore Police said it was extremely disappointing that some members of the protest groups have made these claims to the media. Police were incredibly tolerant and part of their role is to facilitate the right to free speech. Police did this by allowing protesters to form up very close to the front of the main entrance to the Barry Mason Centre where the conference was being held.

Even though the protest groups had failed to get the required permission from the North Shore City Council, police still made the footpath and road available to them. Megaphones and whistles blasted away in officer's faces for over 2½ hours.

At around 11-00am there was an incident involving a scuffle between a protester and a third party who was later identified as a union delegate. Two arrests were made at that point but both persons were released without charge shortly afterwards. Police say there was claim and counter claim about what happened. Scuffles of this nature are to perhaps be expected at an emotionally charged event like this.

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Police are now in possession of a formal complaint from one of the protesters against the union delegate and say they will consider it later in the week, there is television footage of part of the incident and Inspector Paterson says in the interests of fairness people should not to make a judgement on the strength of that alone.

In another incident a 17 year old Gisborne youth spat in the face of a Maori police officer immediately after performing the Haka, police say the youth was arrested and charged with a technical assault, he was very apologetic and was later released to his Whanau, police say he has not previously been in trouble and are considering issuing a formal warning.


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