Marchers seek democracy for Christchurch

Last updated 18:21 01/12/2012
Protest
DEAN KOZANIC/ Fairfax
PRO DEMOCRACY: About 1000 people gathered in Latimer Square, Christchurch, to protest against the government.

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Traffic was stopped or redirected as about 1000 marchers took to Christchurch streets to protest against the lack of democracy in the city.

The march was organised to protest against the suspension of Environment Canterbury elections, the demolition of heritage buildings, school closures, and government acquisition of land in the CBD, amongst other issue dogging the rattled city.

Protesters marched from Latimer Square to Cranmer Square, shouting, “Our city, our say!” and “What do we want? Democracy! When do we want it? Now!”

Some protesters painted portraits of Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee dressed as Kate Sheppard to remind him of the suffragette movement in Canterbury.

Organiser Wayne Hawker said the suspension of democracy in Christchurch had national implications.

“If they can do that to us, a major metropolitan, they can do that anywhere in the country.

“This is our city and we are going to have our say.”

Christchurch City Councillor Glenn Livngstone hosted the rally, and speakers included Labour MP Lianne Dalziel, Green MP Eugenie Sage, and Act Party member Gareth Veale.

“Democracy’s been shut down,” said marcher Marney Ainsworth, of Bryndwyr.

“All that this government is doing is about centralising powers into a dictatorship.

‘‘It’s a benign dictatorship, but history and overseas shows this doesn’t last.

‘‘It’s being done by a small group of people in the interest of a small group of people. We all need to be out here taking a stand.”

Another marcher, Mike Davey, said school closures had also affected his family because the school his grandson had been about to start at, Kendal Primary School, had been slated for closure.

“We need to bring back democracy for Ecan because we need to have a say about what’s happening to our water.”

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