Glen Innes housing protest 'biggest yet'

JOHN MINTO: The veteran activist faces charges of assault and obstruction after a protest in Glen Innes.
GRAHAME COX / Fairfax NZ
JOHN MINTO: The veteran activist faces charges of assault and obstruction after a protest in Glen Innes.

Veteran activist John Minto was among 13 people arrested last night at a protest against the removal of state houses in Glen Innes.

Party supporters have also announced plans to march to parliament on Wednesday as they scale up their protests against the removal of state houses. 

Minto, who was charged with assault and obstruction, said last night's protest was the largest yet.

About 40 protesters faced off with a similar number of police officers as contractors removed two houses.

"In the process there were scuffles and people being pushed over. There was some real nastiness."

The government was socially and ethnically cleansing areas of the suburb for high-cost housing, he said.

"It is the destruction of a community. The people of Glen Innes who have lived there for decades will not be able to afford to live there any longer," he said.

"It will turn into another Ponsonby by the sea."

Mana Party leader Hone Harawira was arrested on October 12 at a similar protest in Glen Innes against housing redevelopment.

This follows other protests throughout the year, including in April where several people were arrested after they lay beneath the wheels of a truck. Following the arrests, about 100 people marched from the Glen Innes police station.

In May a man was knocked unconscious as protests turned violent and protesters accused police of using "quasi-military tactics".

Police denied they were heavy-handed.

The 13 arrested last night will appear in Auckland District Court on Monday charged with obstruction.

The protesters are likely to fight the charges, Minto said.

"The protest behaviour was irritating, annoying and dragging things out... but it does not represent obstruction."

Auckland Now