Protesters face off against police

MICHELLE ROBINSON
Last updated 05:00 09/11/2012
apirana avenue
PHIL DOYLE

FACE OFF: Police and protestors faced off over the removal of three state houses from Apirana Ave.

apirana avenue protest
PHIL DOYLE
ARRESTED: At least one protestor was arrested after she climbed a removal truck and refused to come down.

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Soggy weather and a broken down police vehicle failed to prevent a two-hour stand-off between protesters and police in Glen Innes last night.

Around 40 protesters and at least as many police faced off over the removal of three state houses from Apirana Ave.

It is the latest street affected by the Government's urban renewal programme in Glen Innes, Hutt Valley's Pomare and Napier's Maraenui.

The largely female contingent of vocal protesters reminded each other and the police that it was a "peaceful protest".

They waited two hours for police to show up, then sung Tutira Mai Nga Iwi and Ten Guitars when they did.

Inspector Tony Wakelin told protesters his badge identification number, as he appeared to not be wearing it in full view.

He asked protesters to move on before police started marching them up the road, which is when events took a turn for the worse.

There was shoving from both sides, with at least one shove from the male line-up of police causing a handful of protesters to fall onto the asphalt.

At least one woman was arrested after climbing atop a removal truck and refusing to come down.

There was name calling and chanting. Protesters got excited when a police van broke down while on convoy.

An almighty shove by police at the top of the road saw the trucks able to get past. No-one appeared badly injured.

It was a far cry from previous weeks.

Last week saw 13 arrested amid ongoing claims of police brutality from previous protests.

Many were back, including Maxine Ngata who claimed she was helping move an elderly woman out of the way when she was arrested.

"An officer hooked his arm around my neck from behind but I managed to get away. I ran up the road and he shouted to two men to 'get her'.

"My arm was twisted behind my back, they tried to push me to the ground but couldn't."

She's upset that her home will be taken from underneath her family, which will move to Henderson.

"My dad's been a minister at the Tongan Methodist Church for 26 years. He was basically told to find another one in Henderson."

The Government is removing 156 houses from Glen Innes to create 260 new ones.

Housing New Zealand will own 78 of those, with 39 owned or managed through other community providers. The other 143 will be for private sale.

One man whose finger was injured during a scuffle with police four weeks ago, Hagan Robertson, was back with protesters this week.

Robertson said he was hanging onto Mana MP leader Hone Harawira's car when the incident occurred.

There was no sign of the Te Tai Tokerau MP this time around.

Robertson said the incident was an accident, and was waiting to hear whether he would need surgery.

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- Fairfax Media

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