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Protesters support swine flu sceptic

MICHELLE ROBINSON
Last updated 10:03 13/08/2010
PROTEST
BEN WATSON
IN PROTEST: Auckland mayoral candidate Penny Bright and supporters protested against the treatment of an Austrian journalist over her reporting on swine and bird flu.

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Supporters of a journalist facing charges in Austria gathered in protest outside that country's consulate in Albany.

Penny Bright, Auckland mayoral candidate and a self-confessed "public watchdog and anti-corruption campaigner", staged the protest outside the Austrian Consulate in William Pickering Drive on Tuesday.

Ms Bright and a handful of supporters demonstrated over the charges being faced by blogger Jane Burgermeister, a swine and bird flu sceptic.

One protester said she "exposed bird flu as a scam which pharmaceutical companies have tried to make millions out of".

"They make the bugs, they make the drugs."

The group of the protesters carried a banner emblazoned with "Swines invented flu", and signs with "Drop the charges against Jane Burgermeister who exposed the $wine flu $cam" and "Austria! The world is watching".

They had a letter for the Austrian government over their disapproval of the charges.

A Guerilla Media cameraman was onsite to record the handing over of the letter to the consulate.

But staff were unwilling to come outside and accept the letter, and Ms Bright wanted the other protesters with her if she went inside.

Police onsite discouraged the entourage from entering the building after they were told by staff they were not welcome, but said they were allowed to remain protesting on the footpath.

Ms Bright said she wanted to post the footage on the YouTube website for the world to see.

"Jane did the world a huge service by her really gutsy stand over the conflict of interest with the World Health Organisation and pharmaceutical companies," she said.

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- North Shore Times

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