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OANZ RALLY To defend the right of peaceful protest

#OANZ RALLY To defend the right of peaceful protest.
Starts at 3pm.
Central Auckland

A rally has been called for this Saturday in protest against the mistreatment of Occupy Auckland protestors during the recent raids by Auckland Council and the NZ Police in Aotea Square.

Occupiers demonstrating in Aotea Square were physically evicted 7am Wednesday when more than 60 Police from Manukau assisted over 40 Private Security working for Auckland Council advanced upon the Occupy Auckland protest encampment to remove protest structures, signs and banners. 29 protestors were arrested, and many are to appear in Court over the coming few weeks.

With heavy Police presence and the physical nature of the hired security a large number of occupiers left voluntarily to ensure the situation did not turn violent. Others that remained stayed to peacefully defend the right to freedom of expression, and the right of peaceful assembly. “Direct protest action and demonstration, essential elements of modern democracy need to be protected at all costs” believes Occupy Auckland member Matt Liston

Before 23rd January Occupy Auckland enjoyed a good relationship with Police. Both parties were and constant dialogue with Occupy Auckland always notifying the Police of any upcoming actions. Until this week the understood position of the Police was that they would only act in direct response to a Court Order, and reasonable notice would be given to protestors. Police have previously stated that trespass notices against occupiers would not be enforced as it infringed their Bill Of Rights.

While the recent approach of the Police has been despicable, it is the actions of Auckland Council that are absolutely deplorable.

“We have a non-elected CEO taking the law into his own hands, not bothering to wait for a decision from the Court, and using hired goons to physically intimidate protestors into submission” says an Occupy protestor. “Where are our Councillors, our representatives elected by the people to run Auckland? The Auckland Mayor must be held accountable.” He continues

“Auckland Mayor, Len Brown, was elected as mayor with the support from the people, but where now is Mr Browns’ support for the people? With Housing Tenants being evicted in Glen Innes, Port Workers having their jobs threatened while the Port is prepared for sale to the highest bidder, and peaceful protesters being physically removed while standing up to system, who’s side are you on Len Brown?” says Occupy member Jared Laing.

Tomorrow’s march is about standing up saying that no, we as citizens of Aotearoa New Zealand, will not put up with brutish actions of Auckland Council and the NZ Police silencing protestors as they exercise their rights under the Bill of Rights. The rally begins tomorrow, Saturday 28th January at 11am in Britomart.

“This is truly a sad week for democracy and free speech. We strongly encourage everyone concerned to attend the rally to defend the right to protest. This is not only vital for our generation but also for our tamariki and our children’s children. We must defend their rights to speak out injustices, against corporate greed and governments not representing the people” says Occupy protestor Malcolm France.

Occupy Auckland supporter and Campbell Jones is available on 0275062351 for comment.


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