Occupiers' resolve stays strong

50 days of Occupy Wellington

BLAIR ENSOR
Last updated 05:00 02/12/2011

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Alan Cooper has showered once in the past 47 days. It does not look like he has washed his clothes much, either.

"Before the 1920s, smelling like a human was accepted. If you cover yourself in scent then you can't tell when someone is telling you a lie," he told The Dominion Post yesterday.

Mr Cooper, a charity worker, has been camped alongside the unemployed, sickness beneficiaries and professionals in the Occupy Wellington group in Civic Square since October 17, two days after the protest began. He has no intention of leaving.

"The world's population has doubled and, throughout my life, approximately a third of the [world's] population have gone to bed hungry and yet there has been more than enough food to feed them. Humanity needs to hang its head in shame."

Occupy numbers dipped to a low of 17 earlier this week when gales ripped through the site, shredding tents and snapping poles.

However, a string of fine days has seen the number of protesters grow to 22. It is hoped up to 50 people will fill the site this weekend.

"It's not easy when you're sleeping in 140kmh winds pushing down on your tent, but it's a struggle to change society and part of that means you have to grit your teeth and tough it out," said Joel Cosgrove, who has also been with Occupy Wellington since it began.

The protesters held a meeting on Wednesday night to discuss the future of the movement, Mr Cosgrove said.

After more than three hours of discussion, the conclusion was that more discussion was needed. `Nothing has changed ... financial chaos continues to happen. We could well be here at Christmas time."

Street evangelist Erik Taylor, from Auckland, was trying to spread a little festive cheer by wearing a Santa hat at the site.

He has been a part of Occupy Wellington for two days while he tries to retrieve his stolen van.

"You've got to put the fun back into dysfunctional," he said. "We live in a dysfunctional society."

Wellington City Council spokesman Grahame Armstrong said there were no immediate plans to serve eviction notices on the Wellington protesters.

However, the council continued to keep a close eye on attempts to evict Occupy Auckland protesters from Aotea Square.

The Auckland protest group were issued a trespass notice by the council on Monday. Judge David Wilson ruled in Auckland District Court on Tuesday that the group could have a week to prepare for a two-day eviction hearing, set down for December 7.

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- The Dominion Post

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